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The Sciences

Larry King, menace to thinking

Bad AstronomyBy Phil PlaitJuly 22, 2008 1:02 AM


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I am no fan of Larry King. I really don't see his appeal; he tends to ask facile questions, throw softballs, probe about 1 nanometer deep, and have a lot of guests with extremely questionable credentials. The latter is the stuff of which blog posts are written. My friend and fellow skeptic Scott Hurst pointed me to a video on CNN's site from Larry King's show on July 20. Why he would pick the anniversary of the day we walked on the Moon for the first time for this particular topic is beyond me, but then, so are the claims of his guests. They are UFO believers. They all appear to have good credentials: military men, engineers, and so on. But credentials mean little to me; I prefer evidence. Did they have any? Guess. The best part: they show a video of a crop circle obviously taken from some distance away and using a telephoto. There are people walking around in it, and a white unresolved object apparently flying over it. Given that the videographer followed this object as it flew around and then off to the side, it's clear we are to think this is some sort of flying saucer or UFO or perhaps the TARDIS. But notice anything funny about it? Like, how no one walking around seems to notice it? What can we surmise from this? I surmise it was a bird. That would fit all the facts in hand. Now, it appears to accelerate rapidly, but then, we don't know where the bird is. It looks like it's over the circle, but it might be much closer to the person taking the footage. With a big telephoto there is little depth perception, and so it could have been much closer to the camera than the circle, and just appeared between them. That's why no one noticed it, and why it appeared to move so rapidly. Does that explanation make more sense than it being a UFO? And these guys talk a good game, I'll give them that, but they all have the same story: I had great footage, but the government took it away! Yeah, OK, sure. So why are you on national TV then? Oh, right. The gatekeepers on the news stations don't give a fig about reality. Larry King has had all sorts of fraudulent "psychics " on his show, and UFO people, and and and. To his credit, he had Randi on once, but he still promotes all manners of irrational garbage. So, Larry King: feh. And CNN: shame on you.

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