Does a Flat Earther react to world events differently to other people? When you think the world is flat, then you think that the mainstream view of the world is very wrong. Does this carry over to other topics?
I interview a Flat Earther who thinks she has good arguments for the Earth not being a spinning ball in space. She has some questions about Coronavirus but feels a little unable to get them answered, for a variety of reasons.
Jeremy Rys has gone by “Alien Scientist” for over ten years. His primary interest is in independently researching exotic technology like anti-gravity and warp drives. Some people speculate that such technology exists and comes from visiting aliens. While Jeremy does not discount this theory, he thinks it’s more likely that if aliens were visiting us, they would not be leaving evidence.
Jeremy is also a long time member of the 9/11 Truth community and thinks that some explosives were used to destroy the World Trade Center, and the planes were probably flown into the towers by remote control. But he draws the line there and also spends some time in debunking the more extreme 9/11 conspiracy theories, and other things like chemtrails.
In this second part of my chat with UFO experiencer Michael, we talk about his interest in the QAnon theory. He firmly believes we are on the verge of a storm of arrests of people currently running the “deep state”. I try to narrow down what this means and arrive at some testable predictions we can check next year.
Michael posts on Twitter as “UFO Today”. For most of his life, he’s had experiences that seem to him to be some kind of alien visitors. We talk about these, starting with his first experience of lost time when he fell off a slide. I compare them to some experiences I’ve had myself, which I don’t think are due to aliens.
This is the first part of a two-part video, with the next episode focussing on Michael’s experiences with the QAnon topic.
Mike is a member of the 9/11 Truth community. He thinks there might have been explosives used on 9/11 to cause the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings. He does NOT think that a cruise missile hit the Pentagon, and considers that, like some other common 9/11 beliefs, to be “B.S.”
We talk about how you decide what is B.S. and what is not. We also discuss the current state and possible future of the 9/11 Truth movement. We delve into the weeds of Mike’s beliefs about the physics of the collapses, and I give him my take on those weeds.
Stian is someone who has been quite deeply involved in the 9/11 Truth community and the UFO community. He also just read my book: Escaping the Rabbit Hole, and has a few questions for me about my approach to debunking. We also cover the slippery slope of internet censorship, the sometimes useful role of conspiracy promoters, how to find common ground, and what I think about the Tic-Tac UFO.
0:00:49 – Defining the Term “Debunked”
0:08:27 – French Wikipedia’s Misleading Metabunk References, and “teams”
0:12:30 – I don’t have a monolithic following
0:13:41 – The term “conspiracy theorist” – a bad thing?
0:21:05 – The “explosives theory” of 9/11, can we separate that from the “conspiracy theory”?
0:23:25 – “Plausible” vs. “Probable”
0:25:14 – “False Balance” in chemtrails and 9/11
0:28:25 – Science by debate or by demonstration?
0:34:28 – Who decides what is science, and what can be discussed or debated?
0:36:05 – The “slippery slope” of content shaping, suppression, and censorship.
0:37:43 – Violent extremism as a rationale for YouTube suppressing conspiracy theories.
0:41:02 – Finding common ground with extremists, and the dangers of the marginalization of budding extremists
0:43:05 – Is the censorship of Alex Jones, on balance, a net positive thing?
0:45:03 – The role of second chances, redemption, and forgiveness.
0:46:49 – Evolution of conversational debunking approaches over time
0:48:23 – The evolution and future of 9/11 Truth
0:49:44 – The importance of opposing voices and allowing
0:51:30 – Are “chemtrails” people an important (or at least useful) voice?
0:57:58 – The role of mainstream media in communicating real and constructive news.
1:0028 – The military-industrial complex
1:01:39 – The importance of studying more mainstream topics as a foundation for discussion
1:09:41 – UFOs, the Nimitz “Tic-Tac” incident.
1:16:50 – The Navy UFO videos being “real”
1:18:34 – Greer and the Disclosure Project, Stian’s involvement in the Disclosure “cult”
1:22:02 – TTSA being Militaristic, the Army CRADA agreement and “Active Camouflage”
Tom has dabbled in a few conspiracy theories over the years, and still thinks there are some significant questions that have never been answered about why the World Trade Center buildings fell down the way they did on 9/11. We talk about how he came to believe what he does, how it has changed over the years, and what evidence it make take for him to feel the question is resolved.
Geoff says that six years ago he was “as normal as everyone else,” but when he was caught up in the manhunt for the Boston Marathon bomber (Dzhokhar Tsarnaev) he took an interest in the events and eventually came to believe it was all staged. This led him to research other topics and now he feels nearly everything we see is staged, and that the world is run by an organization of Freemasons, Jesuits, and the Vatican. He also thinks that the earth is not a globe and that it’s possibly flat.
Jason Bermas is a producer, writer, and YouTuber, best known for conspiracy documentaries such as Loose Change, Fabled Enemies, Shade, and Invisible Empire. Loose Change was a seminal documentary for the 9/11 “Truth” movement, and I’ve often heard people cite it as a big part of why they got interested in the various 9/11 conspiracy theories.
We talk about the topics in his films: 9/11, geopolitics and corruption, chemtrails, But we also talk quite a bit about UFOs, video games, and quantum computing.
I deeply disagree with a lot of Jason’s positions, particularly on 9/11 and his New World Order theories (and chemtrails, of course) but people can always find common ground. We both enjoyed playing Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater, we find quantum physics fascinating, and we both agree there’s lots of harmful corruption in the world. By having a civil discussion founded on that common ground we were able to advance our mutual understanding, and hopefully move everyone a bit closer to reality.
Ian goes by the name TheoryQED on Metabunk and his YouTube Channel, where he posts about UFOs. Unlike me, and definitely unlike my last guest (Seth Shostak), Ian thinks there’s something highly significant to the UFO phenomenon, maybe even alien visitors. Like most Americans, he also suspects the government is not telling us everything it knows.
Some of our disagreements have been about three videos that have been in the news recently: “Go Fast”, “Gimbal,” and “Flir1”. The latter is particularly interesting as there are a large number of eyewitnesses from the Nimitz Carrier strike group who report a variety of odd events and sightings surrounding that videos – like Commander Fravor’s “Tic-Tac” incident.
We also have a nice chat about UFOs in general and the possibility (or probability) of visiting aliens.
Voorhis Quote: “The Big-Eyes are pretty good binoculars. You couldn’t grasp the shape, so you knew it was there, that’s why they were called TicTacs, but you couldn’t grasp the shape or the design of the way that it looked. But in the video, you could see it.”
JM Talboo runs the web site http://911debunkers.blogspot.com subtitled “Debunking the Debunkers of the 9/11 Truth Movement”. His focus is on debunking people like me, i.e. people who debunk 9/11 conspiracy theories. But he also debunks 9/11 Truthers when he sees them make mistakes, and recently added another subtitle to his blog: “Refuting the Hollow Arguments of the So-called 9/11 Debunkers & Truthers”
We talk about how he got into 9/11 Truth and blogging, how his beliefs have changed over time, and wander into the weeds of a variety of 9/11 related topics. We also venture further into the conspiracysphere, touching on JFK, Chemtrails, False Flags, and other topics.
Adam Taylor was very active in the 9/11 truth movement for ten years from 2007 to 2017. He’s still very much in favor of a new investigation and thinks there are many unanswered questions about the events of 9/11. But he no longer spends time advocating, and instead is focusing on living a normal life. We talk about how he got into 9/11 “truth” activism, why he eventually retired from the movement, the role of debunkers, and his thoughts on the “truth” movement as a whole
Paul is a former promoter of the Planet X conspiracy theory, which is also known as the Nibiru cataclysm. Planet X (or Nibiru) is a supposed rogue planet that some people claim they can observe near the sun. Supposedly the existence of this planet is being covered up by the government because it’s about to cause the end of the world. There’s a wide variety of versions of this theory.
Paul discovered the Planet X theory back in 2013 and became very interested in it. He started posting lots of YouTube videos promoting the theory and warning of the impending apocalypse. He teamed up with two other people, and they created lots of YouTube content as a team. For a long time he simply ignored all attempts by “debunkers” to explain things to him, but eventually he recognized that the weight of the evidence was against him. This realization came about in large part due to the efforts of one debunker who posts on YouTube and Facebook as “Dazza the Cameraman.” Dazza would patiently and politely explain things to Paul.
Paul eventually lost his belief in Planet X and split with his YouTube partners, who immediately branded him a traitor, all of which was very difficult for him. He’s now moving on with his life and leaving conspiracy theories behind, but he contacted me because he wanted his story to be told.
“Paul” is not his real name, his voice is altered, and he does not appear in the YouTube version. While anonymity is difficult to keep on the internet, Paul did not want any more footage of himself out there that could be used directly against him, so he’s appearing here relatively incognito.
Dazza The Cameraman’s sites have lots of great debunking of Planet X, and Flat Earth:
Jim Lee used to be a fairly hardcore conspiracy theorist, deep into things like Chemtrails and doomsday comets. Now he’s less deep down the rabbit hole, but has managed to create one of his own. He’s convinced there’s something going on involving chemicals in the air or modifying contrails. Not exactly chemtrails, but still something nefarious. He spends a lot of time researching what it might be. He’s also concerned about the effects of potential future geoengineering, pollution, and nuclear leaks, and his large website Climate Viewer, is where he educates people on those issues, and other things he finds important.
Unfortunately a lot of people in the chemtrail community think of him as a supporter of the conventional chemtrail conspiracy theory, even though he thinks that’s implausible, and prefers his own version. He still uses the language of “chemtrails”, even though he will qualify it later in the article. I think he’s wrong about a secret geoengineering plot, but even if he was not, I think he’s not helping with pandering to the hardcore chemtrail folk.
Joe is someone I’ve known online for nearly ten years, back when he was a believer in the chemtrails conspiracy theory. Over a few years, I managed to talk him out of that one. He’s dabbled in a few other conspiracy theories since then, like JFK, 9/11, and Birtherism (Obama being supposedly born in Kenya), but didn’t really think they had much to them.
Joe is politically right wing, a Tea Party Republican who expressed some support for the Oregon militia standoff of 2016, and is very critical of what he sees as left-wing media bias regarding social issues like race and immigration. The conspiracy he currently thinks is real is that leftists and globalists like George Soros, combined with a “Deep State”, are attempting to use those social issues to manipulate society towards open borders and a one world government. This is not a fringe view, and variations of this belief are actually shared by a significant number of people.
Joe joking referred to himself as a “deplorable”, a term used by Hillary Clinton to refer to Trump supporters, and then adopted by those supporters as a badge of their perceived oppression by the liberal establishment. To a liberal like myself, Joe’s positions do seem rather disappointing and I disagree with most of his political and social beliefs. But, just like with the more extreme or eccentric conspiracy theorists, I think it’s important to keep the channels of communication open.
I met Sasha at the Flat Earth conference a couple of weeks ago. During the debate, she asked an interesting question about the moment that made us commit to the Earth being flat (or, in my case, a globe). Afterwards, she approached me and asked a few more questions, and we ended up talking for quite a while. I found her fascinating, as she was a very nice, normal-seeming, intelligent person. She’s certainly not stupid, and does not seem to be crazy, and yet she thinks there’s a good chance that the Earth actually is Flat. I tried explaining a few things to her, particularly the fact that distant mountains seem to be hidden behind the horizon just like the Globe model predicts. She didn’t think this was good evidence though, as there seemed to her to exist other possible explanations, like “perspective” hiding the bottom of the mountain. So was frustrated and intrigued. I invited here on my Podcast, and we have a fascinating conversation, where I again fail to get my explanation across, and she quite eloquently speaks about the need for both questioning of assumptions, and communication between diverse groups.
I first became aware of “Tim Osman” from his work debunking the Flat Earth theory. He’s done some amazing work there with highly visual demonstrations of the curve of the Earth using drone footage. But when I asked if I could use some of that footage he declined, and later berated me on his channel. It turned out he did not like my debunking 9/11 conspiracy theories, because he is a 9/11 conspiracy theorist (although he disputes the term.)
I asked him for an interview, and he agreed, with no video, and with him live-streaming it to his channel. It starts out a bit adversarial and the first half is largely him grilling me about my beliefs. But we eventually agree on a little common ground, which is always a great first step in genuine communication.
In this second part of my extended conversation with Stian Arnesen (first part here) we delve deeper into 9/11. Firstly we discuss the Alaska report on World Trade Center Building 7. This is a report by Prof. Leroy Hulsey ,paid for by Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth, a group that promotes the conspiracy theory that the World Trade Center was destroyed with pre-planted explosives. The report is intended to prove that fire alone could not be responsible for the collapse. Stian has been corresponding with various members of AE911Truth for a while, and has something of an inside perspective on what to expect.
Following on from this we discuss why it’s so hard to get serious scientists to look into the science behind conspiracy theory claims. I relate my experience with doing a study of scientist’s beliefs about Chemtrails.
In the second half of this episode Stian brings up a number of questions he still has about how the World Trade center collapsed the way it did. I try to explain.
Stian Arensen has been involved in the 9/11 Truth community for a number of years, and in the last year or so has been questioning some of the underpinnings of that community. Stian has also been very interested in topics such as crop circles and UFOs.
We discuss how Stian’s thinking has evolved over time, and examine the parallels between the various communities – in particular we look at the effects of questioning the group consensus, and how it can lead to exclusion from a group unwilling to move forward.
Stian also questions me about my debunking, and some things I’ve said in the past, and I try to explain.