Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Obama conspiracy theories debunked

Yesterday I received an email that contained yet another argument that Obama's birth certificate (the PDF'd scan of the "long form" certificate) was a fake, based on erroneous claims about the name of Kenya in 1961 and the name of the hospital which were already debunked at four months ago.  But this prompted me to see if there were any more advocates of wild claims about the birth certificate, and I came across Douglas Vogt's alleged analysis of the birth certificate and, more importantly, a very well-done, detailed debunking of that analysis by Kevin Davidson (known on his blog as "Dr. Conspiracy"), who has done a great job of responding to numerous Obama conspiracy claims.

Check out his "The Debunker's Guide to Obama Conspiracy Theories."

Vogt, the author of the analysis which Dr. Conspiracy debunks, is also an example of "crank magnetism"--he is the author of Reality Revealed: The Theory of Multidimensional Reality, a 1978 book which looks like a classic work of crackpottery.  Vogt bills himself as a "geologist and science philosopher" who:
has funded and directed three expeditions to the Sinai desert where he was the first person since Baruch (Jeremiah’s grandson) to discover the real Mount Sinai. He discovered all the altars that Moses describes in the Torah. In addition he was the first person since Moses to see the real Abraham’s altar also located at Mount Sinai and not in Jerusalem. He has discovered the code systems used by Moses when writing the surface story of the Torah, which enabled him to decode the Torah and other earlier books of the Hebrew Scriptures.
His book features:
The first information theory of existence. explains many of the hardest phenomena in the Universe such as: the causes of the ice ages, polar reversals, mass extinctions, gravity, light, pyramid energy, kirlian photography, psychic phenomena, and more!
So in addition to a self-proclaimed expert on typography, conspiracy theorist, and "birther," Vogt is apparently a creationist, pseudo-archaeologist, Bible code advocate, and promoter of a wide variety of pseudoscience claims.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Counterfeit Dreams

Jeff Hawkins was a Scientologist and member of the Sea Org from 1967 to 2005.  He was responsible for 1980s marketing campaigns that brought L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics back to the New York Times bestseller lists.  Beginning in 2008, he wrote a book-length series of blog posts about his experiences which has led to many further defections from the Church of Scientology. The blog posts have been edited into a hardback book, one of several by long-time high-ranking recent defectors (others include Nancy Many's My Billion-Year Contract, Marc Headley's Blown For Good, and Amy Scobee's Abuse at the Top).

I've read the first few chapters at his blog--it's quite well-written and the comments from others who have shared some of his experiences are fascinating.