Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Dr. Michael Shermer’s Appearance on C2C

Everybody’s lovable skeptic Dr. Michael Shermer appeared on Coast to Coast AM radio broadcast last night. As usual the affable and witty Dr. Shermer, publisher of Skeptic Magazine, and columnist for Scientific American discussed a variety of topics from conspiracy and 9-11, to UFOs. To me, the most exasperating thing about Dr. Shermer, who comes across as a genuine man pursuing the truth, in that he claims to be a skeptic but throws his skepticism out the window when it comes to anything the government says. And this from a man who admitted on the Larry King show last year that government does in fact lie, and lie often. He turns his doubts on the critics as if they are the source of the problem or are without proper means to investigate a fact. I know of no instance where a government assertion in regards to any major event was refuted or debunked by him.

You always have to ask these professional skeptics about the Kennedy assassination and host George Noory wasted no time in getting to that. To start off, probably the worse thing Dr. Shermer did was to admit the book that turned him away from conspiracy was Gerald Posner’s Case Closed. A book so bad that Warren Commission attack dog Vincent Bugliosi had to take him to task on numerous issues in Reclaiming History, and rightfully so. (Notice he reads a book that is designed to prove the long gunman theory; not something more objective. ) So on this shaky foundation Dr. Shermer ambles through the same hackneyed arguments as all the debunkers do. Too many people involved, somebody would have talked; Oswald was an excellent marksman; there are no evidence for other shooters, and so on.

Let us just look at two of these arguments.

Somebody would have talked. So, how many people talked in the Booth/Seuret conspiracy to assassinate Abraham Lincoln? Answer: none. And there were almost a dozen people, possibly more, involved with that. John Wilkes Booth was clever; he made sure all involved were compromised in some way. For example, he would have his fellow conspirators rent the same horse he did at the livery stable. That way there was a witness who know the men renting the horse and a written ledger containing the names of all involved with him. He would also write letters discussing the plot and should anybody write back he would inform them the letter would be used as evidence against them if he were outed. We would not have clandestine services keeping so well their secrets such as the CIA or the DIA if people were such blabber mouths. Look how many secrets the CIA is sitting on right now in regards to the JFK assassination. A ton.

Oswald was a superior marksman. As usual with lone nut believers, Michael Shermer only gives partial evidence of Oswald’s superior marksmen skills (probably from reading Posner’s faulty analysis). True, Lee Oswald did score high on his first marksmen test and passed with flying colors. However, that was one of three tests that he would take during his time in the Marines. The second test was average. The third and final test he barely passed. Dr. Shermer, who claims to be a seeker of the truth seems content with never mentioning that. How could an honest truth seeker not care about that? In Russia, when hunting with his friends, Oswald always got the shotgun; for obvious reasons. Prior to the assassination Oswald was known to have gone to a firing range but only shot at stationary targets. (Also of interest was the witness accounts have Oswald appearing when he should have someplace else, such as at work. Also, he was seen driving a car and being in the presence of other individuals.) The hardest thing in sniping is shooting at a moving target which Oswald never practiced at any firing range nor in the Marines. Any skilled SWAT sniper or army marksmen knows that you have to practice every day to stay sharp; skills degrade rapidly. You just do not buy a gun, rarely use it and then show up one day and fire off precise shots. His wife Marina said he would practice shooting leaves in the park. Ridiculous. That would be heard by other park goers and is against the law for discharging a firearm in the city limits. Clearly, if that happened, Oswald could have gotten himself arrested.

To further enforce Oswald’s murderous intent, Dr. Shermer brings up the assassination attempt on General Walker. Here, he shows how little he knows about case and how weak his arguments are. After telling the Coast to Coast audience how accurate Oswald is as a Marine marksmen, he then tells them Oswald missed. Missed a man that was sitting still in his own home! But he can incredibly hit two men in a moving car? Which of course, is the hardest shot to make, of which I must add, Oswald never trained for in the Marines or in civilian life. (Naturally Michael Shermer skips on the other controversies such as the recovered bullet that was a 30.06; not the same caliber of that Oswald’s Mannlicher-Carcano, a 6.5mm. No mention of how Oswald, with no car, got there with a rifle in broad daylight to make the assassination attempt. And this is just the tip of the iceberg in this controversy.) Needless to say, Dr. Shermer shows how far out of his league he is with the most basic facts in the case. Really, he's so much better dancing with Bigfoot.

Same Old Song and Dance
There is a notion that people that believe in conspiracies are just going on blind faith. That must be dispelled. The very reason there are conspiracy believers is exactly because of the evidence that refutes or questions official claims.

For man who promotes reason and evidence to explain reality Michael Shermer really passes the ball on this one. His arguing style is no different here than it is with other topics such as UFOs, Bigfoot, or 9-11. He makes claims of being open minded but I respectfully doubt that. This man after all, has a business being a professional skeptic. He publishes a magazine and he runs a foundation. Do people really think if hard evidence comes along to prove that UFOs and Bigfoot are real, or there is a conspiracy in the death of JFK, he’ll change? People like him always move the goal line if you get too close. Just try him sometime.

(For more on Gerald Posner’s errors in Case Closed, read The Return of Posner by researcher Jim DiEugenio, HERE.)