“Fair-weather” scepticism


My old man used to label us kids as “fair-weather sailors” when we bitched about working outside during bad weather.

That phrase comes to my mind sometimes when I come across people who claim to be “sceptics ” (“Skeptics”) behaving very unsceptically when confronted with a claim outside their area of interest. For example, someone who can be quite objective about scientific claims but reacts quite unobjectively to political claims.

Perhaps politics is a bit like religion to some people – they line up instinctively on one side or another. However, I think a true sceptic should still be able to consider political claims according to the facts available and not just rely on instincts.

So, I am all for this image. Yes it is hard. But when you think about it what use are one’s ingrained prejudices if they do not stand up to sceptical consideration.

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20 responses to ““Fair-weather” scepticism

  1. I suppose there is a message in your message but I certainly don’t have the inclination to wade through your mess to find it!


  2. Ken we are subjected to reinforcement of perceptions by news media. Writers on this group grumble at some notions I relate. They only want peer-reviewed research to be discussed. But I see it sometimes as an intention to exclude any suggestion of credence to alternatives.

    If I might relate a recent problem I have had with the news. We have been shown plane crash debris: many small pieces, and I have had no glimpse of a crater which a high speed impact of a plane would make to break up into such little bits. Further it seems far fetched that a pilot who has had a year off for depression would be taken on as an airline pilot.

    News has been reinforcing to us about the door into the flight deck so we start to accept it was all about that.

    Then I came across this and I am suspicious that modern warfare is about ascendance of corporates. You get in early by taking out the opposition’s technicians.


    Brian Sandle


  3. Trev, perhaps you might find it easier just to copy and paste something irrelavant. 🙂


  4. When people are persistent things sometimes have a hope of changing. Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth have now persuaded the main Architects and Engineers body to debate the collapse of WTC7. They say that if WTC7 collapsed by fire, which the big organisation accepted, that that would mean hundreds of other similar buildings are at risk of collapse, therefore the best science must be used and all the data obtained. https://truthandshadows.wordpress.com/2015/03/26/aia-green-lights-building-7-vote/#more-2385

    Brian Sandle


  5. This opens up more avenues for hypothesis over the recent air crash. I have asked Mobil about additives to air fuels but had no reply. Trimethyl aluminium helps prevent ignition failure. I live on the flight path between Dunedin and Wellington. I noted that the trails behind aircraft last spring were not persistent, well I did not notice them. They returned in the summer. I get a wild hypothesis that growth of grass for diary farms would be affected if aircraft trails increased cloud in the spring.

    Pardon me but sometimes I feel funny about overlapping poetic concepts with no real connection, “fair weather science.”

    Brian Sandle


  6. soundhill,

    Don’t take this as a criticism, but I don’t believe that you have really thought out the mechanics of an airliner crashing.

    Even if it does weigh over 60 tonnes and travel at over 800 km/hr, a thin shelled hollow aluminium alloy construct will not leave much of a crater when it hits billions of tonnes of immovable granite. A scale replication of such an impact would be similar to a soap bubble hitting a brick house.

    I think that further speculation as to the cause of the disaster is inappropriate; leave it to the experts on the scene to gather the data, put things together, and eventually publish their results as they are required to by law.


  7. Thanks Stuartg. Yes, though the ground has been said to be crumbly for recovery we do not know if the the “impact” was on such ground. And there were several other matters on the video. Your ref is subscriber or pay only. We don’t know if we can trust any “official” report. Some more data here suggesting a break up before impact, and the policing of the air space around:

    Have the engines been found?

    Our planet is in serious trouble. Geo-engineering is a serious thing following on from the usual cloud seeding/weather modification. I think USA has laws saying it can unilaterally do stuff when others don’t agree. One way to have people not disagreeing is not to tell them. Or not making big news in the mainstream media. Did you hear of the attempt to fertilise a region of the ocean with an iron compound?

    Brian Sandle


  8. Some more data here suggesting a break up before impact, and the policing of the air space around:


    Hello? Anybody home in Soundhill land?

    Somebody telling you somebody told somebody else that they saw something?

    Come back Cedric. Please.


  9. Richard Christie it may be unreliable data, and one test is whether what it suggests has other corroboration.
    Again from the article, which needs corroboration:
    “A helicopter pilot in the French Air Force based in Orange, 30 minutes away from the site of the crash, told IBTimes UK witnesses in the crash investigation told him “they had heard an explosion and seen smoke”.

    While the French authorities have not confirmed these accounts, the pilot confirms the French Air Force has received a number of corroborating witness testimonies.

    The pilot also confirmed that debris was found upstream from the crash site – which he said confirmed the fact that the piece of fuselage had “been detached from the aircraft before impact”.

    “The search zone is quite localised, but a piece has been found upstream, which is a bit unsettling,” the pilot said from Orange.”

    That should have been easy enough to check if people weren’t prevented from flying over to look.


  10. Regarding the chemtrail/contrail hypothesis of geoengineering, a recent National Academy of Sciences report has things to say
    “… the involvement of private contractors rather than the military services would likely help promote international buy-in and help minimize conspiracy theories.”

    which seems to indicate there is consideration of it.

    “This chemtrails theory persists in spite of numerous efforts by members of the scientific community around the world to explain what is being seen are just artificial clouds produce by
    normal condensation processes. People demanding explanations have sent thousands of complaint letters to various government agencies, showing the popularity of the chemtrail
    conspiracy theory and illustrating the possible type of reaction from a portion of the public when and if a climate intervention effort is undertaken.”

    So the public might react seeing planes make clouds. Why are they even considering it when they also say?:

    “Relevant to the topic of this report, Kuhn (1970), Lee et al. (2009), Frömming et al.,(2011), and Schumann and Graf (2013) found that contrails have a similar effect as cirrus clouds, and therefore averaged over the globe, increasing the number of contrails would warm the planet.”

    Seems to be implying they cannot use contrails so something else is required. What?

    (can download as guest.)


  11. “UK witnesses”? To a crash in southern France? I sure hope that’s a journalist with poor language skills (journalist + poor language + hearsay = ignore until there is reliable data).

    “Chemtrails” = ignore this person.

    Modern commercial passenger aircraft are lighter, less dense and made of weaker structural materials than cars. They break up when they hit the ground. It’s not the ground that breaks up and leaves the aircraft intact.

    About the only craters you will see from aircraft crashes are those from military aircraft, which are denser (less interior space), often travel faster (= more energy), have heavier structure (for more violent manoeuvres) and are made of stronger materials than airliners.


  12. Stuartg wrote: “UK witnesses”? To a crash in southern France? I sure hope that’s a journalist with poor language skills (journalist + poor language + hearsay = ignore until there is reliable data).”

    Stuart the problem is the font of this board which does not show bold type. “IBTimes UK” was all in bold: the name of the paper. (International Business Times, English Translation of the article.) I shall add a word in square brackets to make it more clear.

    “A helicopter pilot in the French Air Force based in Orange, 30 minutes away from the site of the crash, told “IBTimes UK” [that] witnesses in the crash investigation told him “they had heard an explosion and seen smoke”.”

    Stuartg wrote: ““Chemtrails” = ignore this person.”

    Stuartg I think most readers realise that that is the National Academy of Sciences talking about the fallacy of chemtrails, and also about the public reaction. They say that condensation trails (contrails) would be no use to stop planet earth from warming by reflecting away the sun’s heat, because, they say, contrails, like cirrus cloud, keep the heat in. They talk about the possibility of doing solar heat reflection in the future and are worried about public reaction. They would have to be using something other than contrails. No formal experiments have been written up in the journals, possibly because of the fear of reaction. There is also the subject of the ignition improvers like the liquid trimethyl aluminium added to the fuel and which produces white smoke (aluminium oxides) in air. They are used to stop jet engine ignition failing at high altitude.

    A military aircraft will produce a bigger crater if munitions on board explode.

    I point out that the pieces of this crash were a lot smaller than those of MH17.


  13. Somebody reporting that somebody told somebody else that they saw something.
    Hearsay reports from a single anonymous source.

    Soundhill calls it “facts”.

    And now, chemtrails.

    Come back Cedric. Please.


  14. Richard, I don’t think I used the word, “facts.”

    You are correct not to believe any reports by say a shepherd to the air base and then its translation to English. Nothing should ever be believed, nor this:

    though such could correlate with another video I referred to talking of toxic gas in the plane.

    This shepherd does not report any other planes in the area.

    What do you think of the NAS material’s mention of chemtrails?


  15. Somebody reporting that somebody told somebody else that they saw something.
    Hearsay reports from a single anonymous source.

    Soundhill calls it “data”.

    And now, chemtrails.

    Come back Cedric. Please.


  16. Richard, I wrote:
    “Some more data here suggesting a break up before impact”

    If what the data suggests turns out wrong then the either the data would be wrong, or the interpretation.

    What word would you say I should have used instead?

    As regards chemtrails:
    I have not read all through the NAS report on albedo modification. (Albedo is the fraction of the sun’s radiation on to planet earth that is reflected away and does not leave the planet hotter)

    “ix In contrast, albedo modification approaches show some evidence of being effective at temporarily cooling the planet, but at a currently unknown environmental price.”

    “no new research was done as part of this study and all data and information used in this study are from entirely open sources.”

    Now weather modification is done extensively, for example all the rockets for the Peking Olympics. So it might seem that a rich company like Monsanto might be looking at albedo modification for its agricultural dominance.

    p8 “In addition, the Committee argues that research topics specific to albedo modification should also be identified and prioritized as part of a larger research effort.”

    You like playing around with words, Richard. What meaning do you give to “identified”?

    Can’t identify something which does not yet exist? Though the word can be used in the sense of “picking out,” from as yet unknown possibilities. I suppose that is what they mean.

    Some people say chemtrails start closer to an aircraft than contrails which have to cool. It is your right of course to ignore all these pictures:


    If it were crop spraying I think it would be closer to the ground.

    If it were realistic photoshopping, what would be the agenda? Who would be trying to confuse people and why? Would it be part of the usual coverup using disinformation which people cannot easily distinguish from real stuff; then the whole scenario gets discredited? If so why is that happening on such a large scale?

    Brian Sandle


  17. Richard: “Somebody reporting that somebody told somebody else that they saw something.
    Hearsay reports from a single anonymous source.”

    Yes the shepherd in the CNN video may have been the same one in the report to the Orange air base.

    Any other suggestion as to what is the significance in the following of “strewn over a huge area”?

    And what about all the mud over everything including the printed circuit board in the tree, which also looks older than the 25 years that A320 was supposed to be?



  18. soundhill,

    I concede.

    I was wrong. You thought things through using the physics and mechanics that exist in your world, a world where hollow, fragile objects travelling at high speed always cause massive damage when they hit something solid at an angle.

    A paint ball hitting a wall results in a crater in the wall and an intact paintball.

    Car versus truck results in intact car and destroyed truck.

    Truck versus train results in intact truck and destroyed train.

    Airliner versus ground results in massive crater and intact airliner. We all saw that with DC3 versus Kaimai, DC10 versus Erebus, and many other airliner crashes around the world, didn’t we?

    Im sorry, but the physics you are using appears to be substantially different from the physics I learned at school, at university, and in real life. I have no option but to defer to your beliefs.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Stuartg, I didn’t write of a “massive crater” I wrote of a glimpse of a crater. If you wish to compare with Erebus:


    Much bigger pieces and engines still in existence.

    Brian Sandle


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