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.
My sister also has a blog that is written by her pet border collie
Callum the Border Collie ands his Autistic Human
Please follow her page and show her some support. She has been having a tough time living alone since our mother passed from cancer.
So maybe a bit of a weird topic for me, as I'm touching on a topic that I'm not really any kind of an expert on.
Right now, the biggest rappers/hip hop artists out of Toronto are obviously Drake, and 'The Weekend' but does that mean the Toronto doesn't have a hip hop legacy?
So, here are my picks for Toronto, from back in the day' In order of equal greatness I start with..
Maestro Fresh Wes
Here we have a bit of Reggae flavour that earned him more than a couple of accolades in Jamaica and a lamentable spoof by Jim Carey that was well off the mark.
This takes a bit of set up as it is a personal and sentimental favourite.
I proposed to my now wife of 10 + years on the swan ride at Centre Island in Toronto
So, worst choice of her life, but obviously she said yes.
Immediately after, with us both feeling the bliss of true love we went on what is really the best ride at Centre Island, The Scrambler!!!!
And as we spun around in our disco light bliss, K'Naan imbedded himself in our personal history. Much like a waving flag.
So, as I said I am no expert, and have no real idea what is happening right now, in Toronto with rap/hip hop etc. I just think there is some history that needs to be maintained. So, thank you for reading, and I'll see you next time when it is time to... drop the needle.
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?
The Archeology Delusion.
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.
The Graham Hancock Delusion
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?