Thursday, September 18, 2008

Debate Notes

Thanks to all the awesome people we met at the CFI debate for coming out to see us! Will was fantastically prepared and was a superb part of the debate, and it was great to meet Sheiban and our many supporters from JREF and CFI. CFI Ontario has been rather slow to put up video of the debate and I know that’s what people are eager to see, so I’ll keep badgering them about it. In the mean time, a few notes:

1. Conspiracy theorists opinions on the outcome...

My fantastic debate partner Will Mount has kept himself abreast of the response to the debate coming from the conspiracy theorist side, and has found quite a few gems of theirs, among them:

The Beverley Street gang of university students appeared to be a part of the
Sceptics Society gang with their foolish magazine.

The publishers according to my extensive research over the years are just a
bunch of people who get support from CIA to so-called debunk issues to steer
people away from what they can really do -- such as remote viewing, dowsing,
etc., etc.

A word of warning to conspiracy theorists: If you accuse your opponents of being “spooks,” you immediately forfeit your right to be taken seriously. This is true of the numerous accusations we get on Facebook to that effect, as well. Just to let y’all know: as soon as you go the “CIA SHILLS!” route, you basically set yourself up to get laughed at…a lot.

I went to the debate, too. I found the entire exercise futile, even
counterproductive. John Ray, the bright kid from Pittsburgh was a most
impressive performer with his instant recall of all-too familiar "debunker"
arguments, complete with eye-rolling affectations of exasperation at Doug's
review of high school physics. I found it truly depressing to see first
hand a young man with such gifts wasting them to uphold the lies of
tyrants--an admission John would surly consider "proof" of his victory. He
was all ego, no integrity. He had no interest in truth. As he asked one of
his facebook debunker friends after the debate: "So, do you think we won?"
 His friend's answer: "Oh yeah, but I'm biased." I thought to myself,
"Night of the Living Dead." Great recruit material for the NWO.

Will found many such backwards-phrased compliments. Here are a couple of great ones I found on the 9/11 denier boards of the “The Agenda” appearance:

It's the John Ray's of the world that we need to reach. These "intellectuals" enjoy getting lost in minutia, convenient speculation and fail to acknowledge real-world physics and see the bigger picture. It was annoying to listen to this guy and soft-ball questions he was given. He represents the truest form of those who are righteously self-ignorant. He is, in short, an obnoxious nerd who loves to be in the right and whose intellectual growth has been stunted by lack of common sense and emotional disconnect.

MacQueen walked into a shooting gallery.

The CIA came loaded for bear. 

The two 'journalists' had every single line from the official story to the letter and didn't have even a single question about the official conspiracy theory. The NY fellow was blinking constantly (a primary characteristic of lying). Both were absolutely unflinching and unfriendly.

They flawlessly hit all of the key OCT apologist points: 

- they were offended about suggestions that their children's friend's parents were not killed as the OCT says

-shaking their heads when MacQueen and Keefer were speaking

- saying 'my friend Michael is wrong' [as if it’s somehow “a CIA tactic” to call someone your “friend” and point out that they’re wrong…when they’re wrong…]

They were intimidating and (too) aggressive. Incredible. 

The show's host was so clearly part of the setup with his UFO survey results comparison, and 'won't make a comment about what that says about our show's viewers' (when he saw 72% said MIHOP in his survey), and then announcing future shows about 'what makes a conspiratorial mindset', and 'how we mourn, and move on'. 

The show was a total setup. Brutal, slick and psychopathic.

But no, seriously guys: a great way to turn yourself into a source of derision is to proclaim that anyone and everyone who disagrees with you is a “CIA shill.” But here’s another curious part of the response by 9/11 deniers…

2. Barrie Zwicker taped the entire debate but only put up one portion.

After the debate a very polite, very friendly man came up to the Q&A session and asked me about an article called Fourteen Points of Agreement With Official Government Reports on the World Trade Center Destruction, an agitprop piece that will be the subject of an upcoming entry. After the debate this person came up to me and spoke with me in a very constructive, very friendly manner about it.

I had a good discussion with this guy for about ten minutes without knowing it was Barrie Zwicker. At any rate, don’t worry Barrie, we’ll be talking about “Fourteen Points” in an upcoming entry!

It appeared that Barrie taped the entire event. Yet, afterwards, the YouTube account “nobodyparticularly” (who, it appears, is someone who is of a like mind with Mr. Zwicker) put up only one portion: Doug’s discussion of “evidence for a controlled demolition” (get ready for headache). It was the only portion of the entire debate where he took up all the ten minutes allotted to him; otherwise, it was anywhere from six down to two minutes. Barrie seems to have made this choice deliberately, and I have little right to complain as the CFI hasn’t uploaded its video yet itself, I just found it to be an amusing commentary on exactly how interested 9/11 deniers are in “advancing the conversation” (to say nothing of Professor Keefer’s last-minute bail-out). But this is all because…

3. Doug Plumb has a lot on his plate.

Doug is a candidate in the Canadian Action Party (its party platform can be found here) and his blog indicates a wide range of interests, as can be discerned by some of the “SOME QUESTIONS” he poses there:

5. If the war on terrorism is real, why is the US and Mexico border being left open? 
6. Why does the government allow so many Moslem's into the country if they are such a threat?
9. If you believe in Global Warming shouldn't you see what the nay-sayers have to say? You can watch Michael Coffman's "Global Warming or Global Governance" for free on Google video. Coffman left the UN because of corruption and the global warming hoax. He has a PhD in forest ecology.
12. What is going to be done with police services once everyone has the RFID chip? Once everyone has the chip will there be a need for police?
14. Wars, debt, poverty, G.M. foods, fluorinated water, among other things will always be with us. Who does parliament really work for?
15. Why do they put fluoride in the water? Wasn't that invented by the Russian communists and used in concentration camps by Hitler? Why is it in our water when its a topical treatment and can only do harm when swallowed?
20. Did the secret government in the USA kill J.F. Kennedy?
21. How could Alex Jones go on the air and talk about UN & Dyncorp sex slave operations, Halliburton Civilian Inmate Labour Camps built on US soil, and the missing 3000 children that were taken in Florida by their Child Protectioin Services if it wasn't actually true? Wouldn't Halliburton sue him - particularly with the fortunes people say he makes from his show? Why isn't Dyncorp sueing Alex Jones? (When surfing the internet you have to be able to tell the difference between conspiracy theories and hard fact)

Literally, the first thing Doug said to me – as soon as I walked into the room, put down my stuff, and shook his hand – was, “who paid for your travel?”

“Who paid for your travel?” Nice to meet you too, Doug. Afterwards he was very friendly and polite, but talk about an odd first impression. But suffice it to say, and many 9/11 deniers seem to agree, Doug is certainly interested in 9/11 (he has his own theories on “mini-nukes”), but he may not necessarily have been the “expert” t hey were hoping for. Frankly, I enjoyed the discussion and had a good time talking with Doug afterwards, but that’s a separate issue.

4. Where are we going from here?

Here’s some of the stuff coming up on our plates.
 1. A review of “Fourteen Points of Agreement.”
 2. A review – yes, a full freakin’ review – of the six-hour woo-woo Behemoth, “Ring of Power.”
 3. A written debate with Michael Keefer, who backed out of the live debate.
 Those are just some of the many things coming up on the horizon. Mr. Keefer has said he’d like to get the debate started in late October, so we’ll make sure to get the rest of these finished first. Stay tuned!


Glendon Mellow: The Flying Trilobite said...

I was at the CFI debate. If I may, I'd like to offer some constructive criticism.

First of all, let me say after reading some articles, and pouring through Skeptic Magazine's articles on 9/11 conspiracy theories last year, I tend to agree with the official version. Are there things we don't know? Probably. However, I think 19 jackass religion-deluded hijackers flew planes into buildings, and killed a lot of people and caused them to fall. I am no expert, and I haven't devoted every waking minute, but the evidence I see seems this is the case.

Okay: your debate. Where Doug succeeded had a lot to do with style. He always finished under time allotted and didn't rifle through a lot of papers. He aimed for a 'down-home' wisdom voice and didn't throw a lot of zingers out there. He spoke to the audience more than he spoke to you and Will. And most important of all, he was willing to pull that microphone right up, and speak into it.

I would say, and I hope this is constructive, that you were better prepared than Will. But often you threw out small sarcasms that were hard to catch from the audience, and seemed dismissive without substance. Sarcasm is an important tool, but it needs to drop a bomb, not sting. Will often tried to find out from Katie how much time he had left, and would throw out some other random fact or nugget of debunking. It appeared a little disorganized.

Half the time was spent leaning in to hear the both of you over the rustlings of the audience. (I was about halfway back on the side away from the door.)

I agree with you guys. Being concise and speaking into the mike will help when debunking. You had the content, you need to work a bit on style.


Neighborhood Rationalist said...


Thanks for the comment. That's how Will and I felt afterwards also, to a large extent. However, I think that not having "a lot of papers" to "rustle through" and never actually having enough to talk about for an entire turn were marks against Doug, not in his favor. But the audience hears what the audience hears, I guess.

landshark said...

Is the debate ever going up?

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