Welcome to The Best Lack All Conviction Blog
This blog is not about anything other than the things I want to write about.
For a long time this blog tried to be about darts and may yet again talk about darts
but for now it is about whatever suits my fancy.
If that entertains, engages or inspires you, then I guess we are in good company.
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Callum the Border Collie ands his Autistic Human
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I know I am on a bit of a tangent with all this Graham Hancock stuff, but I am working a 12 hour night shift and this seems as good a way as ever to pass the time.
So, Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer has published an article detailing his thoughts and criticisms of Graham Hancock's theories, more specifically in relation to Graham's 'Ancient Apocalypse' Netflix show.
Apparently, Graham will be providing his own defense, but while I have minutes and hours to occupy I'll give a few thoughts on Shermer's article.
To start off with, you might be surprised to know that long before I had even heard of Hancock (who I discovered through the Coast to Coast radio show ( West of the Rockies, you're on the air!) . The local library in Guelph, where I lived at the time had the actual physical magazine. Really good fun, mostly because although they were saying they didn't believe in all the cool stuff, they were at least talking about cool stuff.
Maybe a point to make is that as much as I believe in the importance of an open mind, having some skeptical instincts can at least keep you in line with the more plausible, or better thought out alternative theories.
Ok so on to my thoughts on the article.
1. Shermer 'steel man's' (as opposed to Straw Man) his article by sending Hancock a copy to comment on BEFORE the article is published: Classy move. Even better he doesn't call Hancock a threat to all existence.
2. Cherry picking data: I'd say Hancock does this, but its hard not to do, and there is a but to this that I will get to shortly.
3. Starting from a conclusion and working backwards: Well, actually Hancock really started out with questions. If he starts out presenting his ideas from a conclusion I suspect it is a function of what Hancock is professionally. To wit, not an archeologist or scientist (pseudo or otherwise) but as a journalist. What might be called 'starting from a conclusion' might also not be too far off from a 'Lede'.
4. But what about god of the gaps and patternicity and lack of hard evidence and too much Woo for any scientist (well at least not named Sheldrake) to take?: All good points, providing that the point of all of Hancock's endeavours is to be embraced by the mainstream.
I suspect he might be well chuffed if they did, but I think he might settle for not being demonized and being free of ad hominem attacks. Perhaps even pleasantly surprised if people in the field of Archeology or skeptical evangelism, would say "Not for me, (insert extraordinary evidence quote)" and moved on to wherever their hearts or trowels led them.
5. So you are admitting Shermer and all correct thinking people are right and that Hancock is wrong?:
Actually, kind of sort of, but not really. It comes down to the specificity of the burden of proof that science expects as compared to what might be acceptable in day to day life.
If we look at patternicity all it is saying is that the mind will try to find patterns. It doesn't mean that patterns never exist, only that both possibilities are present. In fact, the very fact that seeing patterns is a part of human nature, it would also make sense that we would intentionally create patterns as a means of communication or expression.
Of course, at this point we should look at the Skeptic's favourite 'get out of jail' card, Occam's Razor, which basically states that simpler explanations tend to be more likely correct than complex ones. This, I think is not a bad starting point, but there is something about Occam's razor that has always bothered me.
Let's say while shooting darts I throw a '180' (three darts in the treble 20 bed, and yes I finally got to work darts into this!) and I post a picture of it after the fact. Wouldn't the most simple and least complex answer be that I placed the darts by hand? I could protest as much as I wanted, but I would nary have ordinary evidence for my ordinary claim, never mind anything extraordinary.
By scientific standards of proof, I would be a cheat. Except, for one important detail, and that is I would have actually thrown the '180'. I might not even be able to repeat the feat at least with any consistency, but I will have still done it.
The real argument here, and maybe why Graham and Michael are able to agree to disagree in a more gentlemanly manner than Hancock and many of his other detractors.
The ultimate answer that might be unsatisfying to many is that I think it is fair to say, at this point in time Graham has not proven his case to the rigors of the scientific method. It also does not mean he is wrong, or, and this is where the biggest point of all lies, that he should be disallowed from talking about it and gathering his evidence, even if some is anecdotal or cherry picked.
I think the real discussion here is more about people being able to present ideas of an alternative nature into the public sphere without being hounded as some great peril to society.
An idea does not need to be irrefutable, in order to be discussible, or valid!
6. So, you actually believe Hancock's woo?: Believe sounds a bit too much like an act of faith, so lets just say I find his questions compelling and his theories plausible. I hesitate when it comes to psychic levitation and so on, but I am also open to non-localized consciousness, so who knows. Either way I am not about to throw the baby out with the bathwater.
7. Woah, were science guys, it is our sacred duty to reject Woo! : Fair enough, there are leaps that are difficult of a hardcore materialist to take. I would suggest that you ignore everything you might believe about Rupert Sheldrake and read his book ' The Science Delusion' not as a refutation of what you might believe, but as food for thought about the nature and history of science, and whether we live in a mechanistic or organic universe.
8. Honestly, we'd rather just read the original article: Can't say I blame you, so here you go...
Alternative Civilization and Its Discontents-By Michael Shermer.
Thank you for coming along with me on my time killing journey.
I am here to implore you for help in stopping the greatest threat the Universe has ever known!
The most diabolical Graham Hancock!
Now I know that in a previous post I've said that Graham has actually been quite nice and appreciative of me and the small bit of work I've done on his site.
Well, I was wrong. Clearly Graham was only being pseudo-nice. In fact this bloke is pseudo everything!
Just ask @kuHoopes or @FlintDibble. I would myself, but it seems like they very accidentally blocked me on Twitter. Just when the world, nay the universe needs heroes to gather up the armies of straw men and lazy smears to defeat this nefarious Hancock.
What makes Hancock so dangerous you may ask?
Well, you may want to have a seat, but during his pseudo-time as a pseudo-journalist while working in Ethiopia , which at the time was a conflict zone. (but alas, if Hancock is involved we can only rightfully assume it was a pseudo-conflict), Hancock had some experiences that made him question what is normally understood about history. This was before Fingerprints of the Gods or America before or any of his other terrible best selling books. This was the start of Hancock becoming dangerous to all of reality.
He had an idea. An idea he wasn't supposed to have. Then he followed that idea, an idea that he should not have followed.
He said "Hmm, there seems to be a few gaps, a few mysteries even."
And then, 'apparently' acting as a journalist he went and talked to different people in various fields to see how plausible his ideas might be.
The only problem, is that while he talked to people in various fields, such as Geologists, he also talked with people who had ideas about the past and how long ago things happened. People with ideas. Worse than that, Hancock started having ideas that looked a lot like Archeology. Some might argue that he is simply acting as a journalist and sometimes reporting on his perspective on Archeological things, but you would be wrong! Only Archeologists can have ideas or opinions on Archeological things. Not you, not some loopy Archeologist out there who might have sympathy for this nonsense, and certainly NOT Hancock. The fact that people read and enjoy his books all over the world is proof that the dude is up to no good. It doesn't even matter that Hancock never says his views are absolute fact. That other people might ponder the same things he does, the fact they too might have IDEAS make him a threat to all existence. He has become a pseudo-archeologist, which pretty much makes him a pseudo-everything, his own pseudo-universe!!
I think you can well imagine what happens when the pseudo-universe comes into contact with the universe you are allowed to think about, because speculation and exploration of ideas is just the root of all evil.
So, you say we should debate him? No, of course not. Why bother when we can tar him with calling him pseudo whatever and conflate him with anything lamentable that uses the same alphabet as him.
In fact, we have already debated him in our heads and decided he lost, because he said things we didn't like. Not even just disagree with. Like some kind of hatred.
So gather up defender of our ideas and not yours. Stay tuned for my next post when I detail how Graham Hancock's ideas started the great fire of London.
I am of course, only being Pseudo-serious about all of this.
Imagine if he could disagree and debate on ideas but be respectful of each other as people?
So, I have recently written a brief comment on my personal and largely positive personal experiences dealing with and interacting with Journalist and Author Graham Hancock.
To summarize, I like Hancock and I agree with some but not all of his ideas, but overall love the questions he asks.
Graham, for whatever reason gets a very strong, and deeply personal response from many people, but in particular from the Archeological community, who despite my promise to myself that I would be diplomatic, are (at least those who show up in their aggressive and nasty masses) are a bunch of butt hurt pricks.
Now, lets be clearr, I take no umbrage with them disagreeing with Hancock. Fuck, that is so easy, "Hancock? No, think its bullocks, and now I will forget about it and get on with my life"
Easy peasy, right?
First of all they seem to ignore all the Q-anon, flat earth, ancient aliens Edgar Cayce and Von Daniken 'Chariots of the Gods' stuff, to viscously and personally attack a guy, who's main ' woo woo conspiracy' thesis, is that maybe history starts a little further back than we think.
Never mind non-localized consciousness, or vibrating levitation stones, or an eternal cosmic Randal Carlson we can all go for beers with. just the start point is a bit further back.
Does he provide proof?
Well, archelogy and proof is always a touchy subject, if for no other reason that any archeologist sees the evidence through their own cultural lens, and not the lens of whatever culture the are studying, which would be alien to them, other that a general commonality of human experience.
So, obviously findings like Gobekli Tepe, etc. speak very loudly in a positive way to the things that Hancock is talking about, a lot of what he speaks of does not have pottery shards and what not and is largely speculative and anecdotal.
Horrible, possibly unforgivable?
No. Give your fucking wanker heads a shake.
Because, he is NOT an archeologist or any kind of scientist, even though he does understand a surprising fuck ton of science.
He asks a lot of questions, really really interesting questions, that actually get people interested and talking about things like archeology and anthropology
Far more than these people who come out of the woodwork.
Like honestly, I can name three maybe four anthropologist, Like Wolpoff, or Taterstall etc.
Archeologists? Indiana Jones and the woman I work with who is an archeology student.
As I said earlier, thinking that Hancock is bullshit, well that is fair game.
Intentionally lumping him in with ancient alien shit, when he has no interest in the subject, or even worse trying to laboursly manufacture some nonsense where an interest in ancient civilizations makes him a 'white supremacist' is both intellectually and morally bankrupt and disgusting.
Seriously, to the people spreading this nonsense. How can you honestly look at yourself in the mirror.
is it that your just jealous that not even your mom wants to see your shitty and forgettable research?
It turns out that levitation crystals are real, and I'm using mine to raise my middle finger.
Love and peace to all of you in the field that keep a proper perspective and dont get involved in this kind of horrible ugly enterprise.
So, I have been watching all of the furor over Graham Hancock's new NetFlix series, with many publications (with the Guardian, I suppose taking the lead) calling it pseudo-everything and racist and dangerous and what have you. I had been hoping, to write something better than anyone else has written to counter what are basically spurious, lazy and anti-intellectual take-downs, and make a more simple and personal statement.
I am interested in Graham's ideas, but do not believe all of them. Even the ones i suspect to be true, but I do not feel are proven to be true (other than Gobekli tepe which 100% proves him right) . I instead, will speak to the fact, that I have dealt with the guy for the last decade. Since 2012 I have been a volunteer moderator on the message board on Graham's website.
From the beginning it was a position by invite, but I could work or involve myself as much or as little as I desired.
During that time, Graham has always been appreciative and respectful of my contributions, even if I did end up being the laziest moderator ever.
He has also shown extreme patience, especially with some of the forum members who maybe fail at social interaction because of mental illness. People that the moderating team would have been happy to get rid of from frustration, Graham has stepped in to give them a second chance. Sometimes that involves strict rules, but it is also sometimes a third or fourth chance, he really didn't need to involve himself in.
There ae accusations that Graham might be racist. I have never seen this to being even remotely true. As a moderator, the only issue I recall was a member started a thread about the holocaust and questioning the numbers of dead. Graham is by his nature, open minded, but he did ban them for life.
Obviously, that is one example, but I guess take the time to read his books. What will you find? Engaging? Bonkers? On the path to something great? I'm 110% sure, not racist, because I've never known Gram to be anything but a decent guy. Sometimes flawed, but a good guy. At least from my decade of experience.
Now, you might argue that I am saying all of this because I am biased, and yup I am, and it comes from experience. His wife Santha also sends me a Birthday message every year which is much appreciated.
Wonder why the flat earth and chemtrail people don't get them this excited?
The blog has been down for a bit, in fact long enough for someone to nick my URL, so we are tblacblog.ca instead of .com now.
In the spirit of keeping topics open to whatever catches my fancy, I'll make some comments of the Leafs, and who I think might/should make the roster etc. It is sadly, inevitable that I will pass over some familiar ground, but can at least give my take. Let's go.
Ilya Samsonov, who was sharp in his pre-season debut stopping 16 of 16 shots, is simply a decent one year gamble. From clips I've seen he is good with the pads. Beyond that, is a wait and see, but with some optimism.
Now as far as Matt Murray goes, there seems to be a lot of trepidation regarding Murray because of his time in Ottawa, (the defensive stalwarts that they are), and while his numbers last year are concerning, I will point out three things that make me think we will see great things from Murray.
1. Curtis Sanford became Leaf goalie coach, and then Murray was acquired. Not saying there might not have been other goalies on Sanford's wish list, but I think there is a strong vibe that Sanford wanted Murray.
2. As has been often mentioned, Murray has two cups to his name. Sure he had a team with some fantastic players, but I'm sure Roberto Luongo, Henrik Lunqvist, or heck even Jack Campbell have had some great players playing in front of them and have all hoisted the cup as often as Jumbo Joe Thornton.
3. He is from Thunder Bay. You just can't buy that of awesome.
Maybe getting into unpopular opinion territory on this one, but I think the Leafs should trade him, possibly as part of a package. It isn't that he isn't talented, but in the words of the legendary musician Warren Zevon
" Some have the speed, and the right combinations, but if you can't take the punches, it don't mean a thing"
(-Boom Boom Mancini).
Obviously I am not saying Robertson should be dropping the gloves. I'm just saying that if he did, he'd be out 4-6 weeks with a hand injury.
Seems the kind of player the Senators would grab. Maybe even the Coyotes?
Players I Am Most (right now at least) Excited About.
Maybe my memory is a bit off, but I seem to recall Kyle Dubas pursuing Calle Jarnkrok in the past. This fact, plus his reputation as a good, responsible two way forward, who can move the play forward makes me excited to see how he meshes. I think that the Leafs will have a lot of options as to where to play him, which brings us to Zach Aston Reese.
In my mind ZAR+Kampf= Stanley Cup.* In fact I think a Jarnkrok might look great on that line.
*With the offensive players obviously holding up their end of the bargain*
Do the Leafs Need To trade Keyser Soze -AKA Holl and the Other Usual Suspects?
While I personally think Justin Holl and Alex Kerfoot provide value for money, it all depends on what the Leafs get in return. This is true of any and all players. Both are on the last year of their contracts (modified no trade) so a lot may depend on what sort of numbers they might be looking for on their next contract.
In theory the Leafs do need to shed some salary, so that might come via trade.
A Jake Muzzin trade gets the $5 and change, but only if Jake agrees to it. Not to mention Muzzin is incredibly effective when healthy. Who knows, maybe the Leafs will parlay Muzzin's current 'back discomfort' into a stint on the LTIR?
It's been a while since the angry mob has been after Pierre Engvall, but he too is a player who provides reasonable value, but the same time could create some sort of trade interest. Just not sure what the Leafs could get/want in return that would be fair value other than unexciting picks and a possible cash dump.
Now of course, if you have read enough blogs about the Leafs if we package Holl, Kerfoot, Muzzin ad Engvall we get McDavid and Draisaitl in return with the Oilers retaining 100% of their salaries.
I suppose the Oilers would have to throw in a couple of first rounders, right?
I don't care. I really don't. I do think that he is maybe correct in being a bit of a misfit child on the Leafs defense, in which case a trade or otherwise moving on might be the best idea.
It's just the lack of leverage he has in gaining a contract is pretty similar to what the Leafs would have in trying to trade the right to sign him.
Is his potential worth this Nylander sized hold out headache?
Will the Leafs win a Playoff Round (or Even the Stanley Cup)?
That is a hard no. Not unless Sheldon Keefe reads this blog and uses the line combinations I suggest throughout the year.
Other than that it is not a useful question. Can't know until the season is over.
Now if you wanted to increase the Leaf's chances, as well as do me a solid, my sister's dog writes a blog.
It's pretty darn good (smart dog!) and I think you might enjoy it. I'd appreciate if you gave it a read and maybe gave it a share or two. (it's on 1.1k shares right now. Let's see if we can move the needle!!! 1.2k? 1.5k?)
Callum Border Collie and His Autistic Human
The blog was started after losing our mom, and my sister's lifetime caregiver to cancer two years ago today.