"Totally coup, yo."

DO NOT WANT

Jan

13

by

John Stossel and the moustache of doom
(an open letter to skeptics)

Dear Respected Skeptics,
Please, stop talking to John Stossel. He will conflate your legitimate skepticism of deities, ghosts and Power Balance bracelets with free market sycophancy and climate change denial. This is his repugnant MO.

His latest victims are Michael Shermer and James Randi. For forty-three minutes of a forty-four minute episode of “Stossel,” they talk commonsense disbelief in God, psychics, horoscopes and ridiculous athletic-enhancing holograms.

Everything is fine. Even with the obligatory appearance of a “Fair & Balanced” priest, reason and science are a mere minute away from a win. Then Stossel delivers his closing monologue:

“Whether you believe in God or medical bracelets or global warming it’s your business. I may have an opinion about whether you’re smart or stupid, but if you waste money on, say, those bracelets, that mostly harms you. But not having enough skepticism about government hurts all of us because government is force….So it’s good to be skeptical but it’s really good to be skeptical about government.”

In one fell swoop, Stossel has tarnished the reputations of two esteemed thinkers, insulted the entire skeptical community, piggybacked his obtuse deregulation rhetoric onto sound critical thinking and legitimized his obstinate climate change denial. The first forty-three minutes exist solely for the last. This is his repugnant MO.

“Enron is an example of how well the market worked for people,” Stossel once said. Just remember that when and if his producers ever send you an email. Do not give this man a break.

So it’s good to be skeptical but it’s really good to be skeptical about John Stossel.

Best,
Murphy

P.S.
I’m busy writing our annual 50 Most Loathsome Americans piece, which is wicked late (sorry), so here’s a more thorough explanation of why you should dislike John Stossel. Or, you know, just Google him.

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stossel-of-doom

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  • Dick

    Stossel really is shameless. I discovered this turd today.

  • Ozinator

    But Murphy, you allow the illogical appeals to stand on 9-11 and vaccines? Though different than climatologists operating in a scientific theory getting stronger everyday, allowing an otherwise critical thinker to switch the burden to 9-11 skeptics and cherry pick from the anti-vac crowd should have been the first signs of getting sold

  • admin

    Oz,
    I honestly don’t understand what you’re trying to tell me. Try again.
    Murphy

  • Beast_Fan

    Maybe Oz is a 9/11 Truther and anti-vaxxer?

  • Jimmy

    Alright, now that it’s mentioned, you could be good to add Jenny McCarthy or Andrew Wakefield on you loathsome list.
    And, no. Being “skeptical” of vaccines is like being “skeptical” of Global Warming. Wakefield was just officially exposed as a fraud this week, to all those who didn’t already know.
    And truthers and birthers are just disproven CTers. Sorry.
    I’m looking forward to Stossel and Lou Dobbs continuing their feud on Fox Business. Should be entertaining, like Alien Vs. Predator.
    He’s the only person Fox News has that they will try to use to deceive non-fundies. Watch out for the mustache.
    I believe in God, btw. But I’m not a fundie.
    Fox really is a fortress for these people, huh? O’Reilly, Hannity, Beck, Palin, Gingrich, Rove, Coulter, Malkin, Dobbs, Stossel, Cavuto, Van Susteren, Gutfeld. Rupert Murdoch keeps all these people on his payroll to spread his propaganda. Is this who we elected to head the House of Representatives last election? We can’t say they’re becoming irrelevant anymore.

  • Jimmy

    Wait, Wakefield was officially shown false last week, right? It’s hard to keep track of the time when you’re out of college.

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      Last week was when the British Medical Journal called Wakefield’s report an “elaborate fraud.” The same “study” was retracted by the Lancet and he lost his medical license in the UK some months ago. Evidence against the supposed MMR / autism connection has been building for a long time now but it’s only been recently that it’s started to look like the people pushing it had lots of conflicts of interest and were consciously being fraudulent.

  • Beast_Fan

    Andrew Wakefield is a Brit though.

  • Ozinator

    There are plenty fuckwits without understanding of scientific process or critical thinking who “believe” in global warming but they have nothing to do with the validity of the theory … pointing at them and expecting others to throw out the baby with the bathwater would be sophistry, no? Ad hominem is ad hominem.

    Regarding 911, the burden of proof has been switched by those who believe in the magic presented by the government…it would be like jimmy demanding that I prove god doesn’t exist, when he hasn’t any proof that he does.

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

    Ozinator, when 9/11 troofers say that what the government presented is “magic” then that’s a positive claim. When you make a positive claim, then you’ll be expected to back it up with evidence. So it’s perfectly fair for the burden of proof to be on you when you make claims like that. Same goes for when they say that it was an “inside job” or that vaccines are a government conspiracy, etc.

  • Ozinator

    I used “magic” to equate it with a belief in a God…The burden is still on the ones making claims. This is why it is silly to move beyond saying that what the government said was bullshit—the burden is on the initial claim. This is why I am not a “Truther”. With Vaccines you are making another mistake and conflating an illogical appeal to doctors, pharma and government with the logical appeal to the scientific process of theory behind climate change….just because it is difficult to prove that they cause a number of ailments which can be distributed to a number of environmental factors (all benefitting from the same difficulty of proof) does NOT mean there aren’t other factors in considering whether to be anti or partial vac (risk analysis based on verifiable strokes and death vs actual disease chances in an immunized herd for instance). You are getting worked by unintentional fallacy if not designed sophistry

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      Ozinator:
      “I used “magic” to equate it with a belief in a God…The burden is still on the ones making claims.”
      Right, and you just claimed it was magic and equal with a belief in a God. So the burden is on you, since “the burden is still on the ones making claims.” Making a claim second doesn’t give you immunity from needing evidence.
      With vaccines, I don’t know who you think is appealing to authorities or “the logical appeal to the scientific process of theory behind climate change,” whatever that means. I would just appeal to the evidence, and it’s not on your side.

  • Ozinator

    so yes it is bullshit because those buildings could not come down at freefall speed from fires alone

  • Beast_Fan

    I’ve learned over the years that one can’t reason with certain people–that includes 9/11 Truthers, anti-vaxxers, Creationists, etc. If you disagree with them, then you’re in on the conspiracy. A scientist debunks their claims, they’re part of the conspiracy. Matt Stone and Trey Parker were originally going to discuss the actual scientific evidence of why it was an “outside job” as I’ll refer to it. They then realized that this wouldn’t make a difference in the mind of a Truther, so they just went to straight-up mockery, which is how I handle people like that now. Nothing is more illogical than these overly elaborate conspiracy theories. I mean, why the fuck would the government have planes hit the building AND use thermite/explosives to bring down the towers? Wouldn’t people have noticed if guys were planting bombs in a building to bring it down? In order to do that, you’d have to rip up the inside of the building–don’t tell me no one would notice. Why would 9/11 have had to happen? The Bush administration would’ve made up shit about WMD in Iraq and invaded even if we weren’t fucking attacked, it just made his job easier. Hell, the buildings didn’t even fall at freefall speed, so that argument doesn’t even have to be answered.

  • poopsquire

    john stossel can eat my fucking poop!

  • Ozinator

    beast-fan,
    pay attention, I never offered a theory other than saying yours is bullshit. I’d stop watching cartoons and pick up an intro to logic.

    Josh, yes…See my post above #12. I laughed at the movie, “loose change” because after questioning something, they’d then give a counter hypothesis (“theory” is more abused than the word, “logic”); it doesn’t matter if that hypothesis makes more sense or not, it plays into turning truth into a subjective notion to take sides on (see beast fan).

    Concerning my quotes on appealing, it was from the video that we are discussing; the “skeptic” and the host first paint anti-vac to define those who believe in retarded playboy bunnies over causes of autism, then conflate them with climate change deniers. Climate change is based on scientific theory, which is not merely a word–doctors saying vacs don’t cause autism is not equal and again, ignores the very real after shot kill records. Though Beast Fan shows himself to be an illogical muppet, I would be making a mistake to say Southpark fans are fucking retards and shouldn’t be listened to, next time one says climate change is real.

    I don’t know if you guys can cook without your labeling cutters, but at least get a third in the drawer

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      lol wut

  • admin

    Dear Oz,
    You English no work some good at time. What “after shot kill record” mean? How thing not fall free fall speed? It bird? All thing fall free fall speed! Why you no like Muppet? Muppet make autism? Muppet make nineleven global warming hoax? Cave Murphy want know.

  • Beast_Fan

    Muppets? Clearly Jim Henson was in on the 9/11 conspiracy too.

  • Ozinator

    Murphy,
    I’m waiting for the room of gibbons to get excited by your antics before I give in and say you’ve crushed my arguments. Now get that fucking loathsome list out before I critique you a second time!

  • Tom Brady’s Pinache

    Cockroaches joke that Stossel’s stache will be all that’s left on earth after a nuclear war.

  • Jimmy

    You guys should be #1 on the Loathsome list for taking so long to jot it down.

    • admin

      fuck you

  • poopsquire

    three hours until monday is a thing of the past. dont let us down.

    • admin

      Sorry, poop. I hate to let you down, but my brain is falling out and the werewolves are coming to eat my face. I haven’t slept in 36 hours. I hate to have unintentionally lied to you, but, man…werewolves! The list is done, but I need to edit it with fresh eyes. A of couple drawings yet to do, also. And…fucking werewolves! I need my face, poop. I use it often. So it’s a simple choice between your satisfaction and werewolves eating my face. I do hope you understand. The Great Pumpkin will appear in due time…after I defeat these goddamn werewolves. Again, sorry. Truly.

  • admin

    Three hours on the East Coast, poop. I’ve been awake so long that I’m simultaneously on both coasts, so it may drop on Cali time. But it’ll be done tonight. I’m getting close.

  • Beast_Fan

    See, and people called me crazy when I stocked up on coffee and silver bullets…

  • poopsquire

    here’s a suggestion for next year – don’t assume that a bunch of loathsome deeds will be committed in the last several days of december. get started on your list early so it is done by the start of the new year. chances are, enough loathsome behavior will have occured in the first 11 months of the year that you can make a complete list, and if by some chance someone comes along and makes the list in the last few days all you have to do is bump off a less loathsome candidate to make room.

    • admin

      Gee thanks.

  • Beast_Fan

    Clearly the admin doesn’t like receiving advice from talking fecal matter.

  • poopsquire

    who invited the sycophant?

  • Beast_Fan

    Dude, it was just a joke, relax : P

  • poopsquire

    i have hypertension, i can’t “relax” so just mind your ps and qs

  • Ozinator

    “A of couple drawings yet to do, also.” I lost all your respect due to a missing hyphen destroying my absurd arguments, but I think I could get your loathsome list edited in less than two weeks without having to stay up 36 hours at a time. In fact, print it here and I’ll ignore your thoughts entirely as I mock your 6th grade writing level while pointing out your errors with big red circles.

    Seriously, stop snorting crank, take a nap and get the thing done! I’ve got subscribers depending on my humorous, “Ozinator’s Most Loathsome of 2010″

  • admin

    Say what now? Oh, right, mixed up “couple” and “of”. Bad gramma. I told you I was tired, jerk. I’m about an hour away from hitting the publish button, so, you know, fuck off and swallow a razor blade.

  • Ozinator

    hehehe…. awesome!

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      Wow, Ozinator finally managed to make a comment that wasn’t totally incoherent gibberish. Sure, it was only two words, but I’ll take what I can get.

  • poopsquire

    if you had any balls you would put Rep. Giffords as the number one loathsome with only the explanation “didnt get shot til 2011″

  • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

    Haha, I can read it now and you guys can’t, nyah nyah, etc.

  • admin

    Josh,
    What do you think? Pretty good huh? Yeah, it’s good. Maybe it’ll be live soon. Or maybe I’ll sit on it for another week. Not sure yet. but seriously, people, lower your expectations a little. You’re giving me gas.

  • Beast_Fan

    Wat?

    Publish it publish it publish it!

  • admin

    Well, OK, since you asked so nice.

  • None

    Yeah, Michael Shermer is an esteemed thinker…to people who already agree with what he says.

    Then again, I guess he really is smart. I mean the guy went and got himself a B.A and M.A. in psychology, the subject that all girls who have no idea what to major in take because it’s incredibly easy and then he used his new found skills in mind manipulation to grab a PhD in The History of Science…a major that no one has ever heard of and it likely less useful than one in underwater basket weaving so he can now be called Dr. to add more credence to his B.S. (not the degree, the fecal matter) and his shit-eating grin he always has.

    Shrewd move from one of the greatest thinkers of this, or any, generation.

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      I’ve never heard a list of credentials used as an attack on someone before. Do you have any problem with what he says, or just with his degrees?

  • admin

    None,
    I admit to not being totally familiar with Shermer’s work, and lumping him in with Randi was an error. Randi’s appearance on that show is what really pissed me off. And Stossel. STOSSEL!

  • None

    Yes, I have a problem with the fact that he claims to be a skeptic and then will generally make claims that are as implausible as what he is attempting to debunk.

    Take a popular topic of debunking/discussion: UFOs. I see him on literally every show about the issue, and at no point have I ever heard this alleged skeptic look at specific claims made by, for example, military personnel or pilots during a clear day after receiving 8 hours of sleep and having a nice breakfast and say “Gee, that seems like something that isn’t a totally crazy hallucination and maybe it should be taken seriously.” There is always some excuse this guy pulls out of his ass to justify not believing and the biggest problem isn’t that he does this…it’s that he claims to be a skeptic the entire time.

    Modern skepticism is a joke. It is used as a means to imply you are being impartial on an issue when you simply do not, and will not, believe anything. This guy has a magazine devoted to this. That is my problem with him.

    As for using his credentials, people who get to be called “Doctor” on shows, while other people who have legitimate credentials in certain fields do not even get a nod to this fact, is what is bullshit and it is important to simply expose what his actual credentials are to begin with. That is the point and that is why it is perfectly appropriate to point out what he actually has an education in.

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      I admit I haven’t watched much UFO television but I have read a few of Shermer’s books and he does go into a lot of detail about the unreliability of eyewitness testimony. I don’t see how his credentials are not legitimate. Can you give an example of someone who you believe takes UFO sighting claims “seriously” as a contrast and explain why you believe they are being “serious?”

  • None

    And yes, Stossel is a cunt. You don’t get a job in the media generally if you are not.

  • None

    It isn’t that he’s not being serious about the issue. It’s that doing things like labeling certain sightings that seemingly have no tangible explanation, made by people who’s testimony in a court of law would hold serious weight on any other issue (police, military, etc.), as being “weather phenomenon,” while at the same time not being able to actually point to what weather phenomenon (aside from ball lightning for everything).

    If eyewitness testimony cannot be trusted, then why do we even allow them in courts? And if you agree that it cannot be trusted, then I hope that if a crime is ever committed against you, that you demand that the authorities immediately dismiss what they are saying because they are probably mistaken. You can’t trust ALL eyewitnesses, but at some point with the sheer volume you would think someone would be correct in what they saw. I have myself seen a light in the sky, and I can tell you that I absolutely recall the event, because it wasn’t like trying to describe the specifics of what a person looked like, was wearing, guess how tall and how much they weighed, while knowing all of the fine details in order to catch someone. It was a very basic event with little detail to be recalled.

    And of course, my biggest problem with him is the use of skepticism I feel it’s a bastardized one.

    So, no, I cannot provide someone else who I feel looks at the issue seriously because I think that many people, including Michael Shermer, are serious about looking at the issue and I don’t ever recall him insulting people directly or wearing tinfoil hats on these shows.

    It is just somewhat insulting to be told by someone with no experience of an event that you might have been so tired that you hallucinated something or are simply incapable of basic recall, especially when I would highly doubt that these same people feel this way about themselves.

    • http://nanobotswillenslaveusall.wordpress.com/ Josh Bunting

      At first you were complaining that he didn’t say that these sightings should be taken seriously. But now you’re saying that that’s not it? Which is it?

      The really obvious response to the courts holding eyewitness testimony in high regard is that the courts are wrong to do so, for the same reason UFO believers are wrong to do the same. Courts being the courts doesn’t make their standards any better.

      In the comments section on another post, someone brought up the Fatima “miracle” of the Sun. Look it up if you haven’t heard of it, and then tell me if you think that the tens of thousands of eyewitnesses were wrong or not. It might change your mind about the validity of eyewitness testimony.

      I realize you probably wouldn’t do this, but if you were to read his first book you’d notice pretty quickly that Shermer introduces this very subject by telling his own “abduction” tale where he seriously believed he was being abducted by aliens. So unless he was insulting himself, I don’t see why you would take hearing about the very real problems humans have with perception – not to mention memory – as if it were some kind of insult. It’s just a byproduct of being human.

      I’m also interested in what you think a non-”bastardized” skeptic would respond to UFO claims. Show me the best case you know of, and what you think the proper response should be.

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