Gary L. Pullman's thoughtful blog on the theory and practice of horror writing had a nice write-up of my comments on psychoanalytic theory and the horror genre from Knowing Fear. I can't do the piece justice in a few sentences. Part I is an excellent read and well worth the time,though I am less enthusiastic about Part II, which focuses on providing Christian interpretations of horror.
Alternative historian and theologian Joseph P. Farrell believes that the Giza pyramids were ancient weapons, and in his new book Genes, Giants, Monsters, and Men: The Surviving Elites of the Cosmic War and Their Hidden Agenda he collects a hodgepodge of well-worn and frequently debunked alternative theories on everything from paleontology to Sumeria. In a section on "archaeological coverups," Farrell discusses my article "Archaeological Coverup" in order to dismiss my conclusions and support David Hatcher Childress's contention that the Smithsonian is a nexus of conspiracies aimed at suppressing the truth about ancient aliens and a prehistoric effort to genetically engineer human beings.
Farrell's book is filled with outdated information, debunked theories, and slipshod reasoning. For an Oxford trained scholar, his reliance on fact-free alternative works is sad and somewhat depressing. In an earlier life, Farrell was a theologian who produced a number of works on the Great Schism. Apparently, when these failed to receive scholarly recognition, he turned against God and began looking for alien conspiracies hiding behind biblical passages. He currently teaches theology at an unaccredited university.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about the similarities between the Cthulhu Mythos and Scientology's Operating Thetan Level III. This post sparked some interesting online discussions, so I've followed it up by expanding the post into a full-length online exclusive article: "Cthulhu vs. Xenu." Be sure to check it out.
In the current issue (Spring 2011) of the newsletter of the Center for Skeptical Inquiry (CSI), Skeptical Briefs, skeptical investigator Benjamin Radford reviews the results of fake psychic predictions he made at the beginning of 2010 to rate them for accuracy. These predictions, made without any claim to psychic power, were intended to show that so-called psychics offer no special insight into the future since their success rate is often much lower than Radford’s own un-supernatural guesses. Unfortunately, Radford engages in some of the same post-hoc justification to twist his own guesses into “hits.”
I am obviously not intended to bash Radford, but in the interest of truth, it’s important to set the facts straight and point out two places where Radford, either through carelessness or wishful thinking, has twisted the truth to fit his predictions.
Radford’s first prediction for which he claimed an accurate hit was that a “senior official in the Obama administration will come under fire for sexist or racist comments but will remain in office.” Radford claimed a hit because “Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid came under fire for racist statements he made.” This is not “RIGHT” as Radford claims since, as a member of Congress, Harry Reid is not a member of the Obama administration, which refers only to the executive branch. Subtly conflating the executive branch with the government as a whole is the kind of twist of truth fake psychics use to claim fake hits.
Radford claims in predication number 10 that “a group or cluster of suicides […] in the American Midwest will leave about a dozen people dead…” He claims a partial hit because “three Pennsylvania teenagers” had a group suicide, noting that the predicted number of victims but not the attempt itself was incorrect. Here Radford is again misstating his accuracy. Pennsylvania is not in the Midwest. Pennsylvania is considered a northeastern state, or a mid-Atlantic state, but not a Midwestern state.
I don’t believe for a minute that Benjamin Radford purposely twisted these predictions. They seem to be the result of simple mistakes or carelessness. Nevertheless, Radford unconsciously reproduced the same faulty logic and twisted truths that professional “psychics” routinely use to make their wild guesses seem far more accurate than objective evaluation would indicate.
After a week of extensive reworking of the website, the major redesign of JasonColavito.com is now complete. I have a classy new title graphic. Each section now has new section headers, and there are new footers with back buttons on sub-pages and miniature title graphics on the section main pages.
I have also expanded all of the mini-sites for my books with excerpts and new image galleries with pictures from and inspired by my books.
It was a lot of work, but now it's finally finished!
I am an author and researcher focusing on pop culture, science, and history. Bylines: New Republic, Esquire, Slate, etc. There's more about me in the About Jason tab.
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