0015 - The Limits of Evidence
People like to "I have evidence" or "look at the evidence". but when does this make sense? What are the limits of evidence? Afghanistan is a hot topic now and there are a lot claims around this, but not sufficient evidence to make a lot of claims. We also discuss gods, ghosts, UFOs, and discuss how evidence can be used on these topics. Get the show notes or listen online at: https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/0015-the-limits-of-evidence
MAKO: Warning. This show contains adult themes and language including bearing zero responsibility for twenty years of our actions.
SQEAKY: Dysevidentia is an inability to reliably process evidence and this is a podcast all about it.
MAKO: This episode was released on September 1st, 2021 and we are discussing dysevidentia because it is clear millions of armchair strongmen are suffering from it.
SQEAKY: I am Sqeaky.
MAKO: And I am Mako.
SQEAKY: We discuss logic and evidence because raging partisans won't.
MAKO: You can support us by becoming a Patron at patreon.com/dysevidentia.
SQEAKY: If you spent twenty trillion dollars funding a war and are a little tight right now, you can still help us out by liking, subscribing, and leaving a review.
MAKO: If you have a paper you have written or a small business to plug, let us know.
SQEAKY: The small business of the show is RadioLab and WNYC Studios.
MAKO: They make a great broadcast and even provided a source for today's episode.
SQEAKY: Today we're going to discuss Afghanistan, God, UFOs, and the limits of evidence. Y'know, nothing heavy, keep it nice and light.
MAKO: And if you stay long enough, maybe even life, universe, and everything.
MAKO: I said we were going to discuss it, not provide the answer. Thank you.
MAKO: Okay. Before you did pauses longer than that, so...
SQEAKY: Warning. I will insert silence later. This show contains adult themes and language including bearing zero responsibility-
SQEAKY: We often start off with corrections or other little details related to the podcast.
SQEAKY: So I guess the only real correction from last episode was that I said Pundit Gateway once and I meant Gateway Pundit. They're still garbage, doesn't change that.
SQEAKY: I just wish that if I'd gotten their name wrong I would've done it in like a funny way.
MAKO: Ye. kind of a boring correction but, y'know, necessary nonetheless.
SQEAKY: Yeah, I guess. So we started the raffle, and that's going well. We've picked up lots of new Twitter supporters and subscribers to our subreddit and we're gonna start doing more stuff in both places.
SQEAKY: Uh, I also benchmarked the flash drives and I've got a little thing going where I automatically fill the flash drives with all of our episodes and test each flash drive nice and thoroughly. I'm throwing a source in to the show notes so you can go to everything.usb- everything.usb.com.
SOURCE [2:23] USB Drive Benchmarks - https://www.everythingusb.com/speed.html
MAKO: Got an arranted dot there.
SQEAKY: I do. everythingusb.com and our disks are pretty similar to some Samsis-
MAKO: Samsung or SanDisk.
SQEAKY: Yep! Both of those is what I was trying to say, just maybe not at the same time.
MAKO: Yep, that helps.
SQEAKY: But they have these ultra small flash drives that are about the same speed as ours.
SQEAKY: They're using some actual benchmark software that gets to like the peak performance of disks, so we're like five, ten percent behind that. So I'm pretty comfortable with our real world numbers.
SQEAKY: Also on the raffle, we totally left out the secret code.
MAKO: Yeah that was a pretty embarrassing revelation for us. But, in our defense this is our first raffle...
SQEAKY: Yeah, I've never done this before.
SQEAKY: So we'll be sure to include the secret code this episode.
SQEAKY: One other thing. In my rant last week, I reached out to Ella. She's-
SQEAKY: Oh! The woman from the Arizona audit. She volunteered in the audit and she was just supporting all of the conman's viewpoints.
SQEAKY: I let her know that she was in the episode. She blocked me.
MAKO: That's fair.
SQEAKY: Yeah. I don't know what else I expected. I told her "Listen to the first seven minutes of the episode." Approximately seven minutes later I was blocked.
MAKO: That's actually remarkably flattering.
SQEAKY: She listened!
SQEAKY: Yay! We picked up one listener for one episode- oh.
MAKO: I dunno. Maybe more episodes than that if she's concerned that she's gonna be brought up again, which apparently she is.
SQEAKY: Does this count as being brought up? I guess yeah. Describing an action she took.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Don't try to track her down and find her. That's... first, that's not cool.
SQEAKY: And next, you can't. There's no public information about her and I changed her name, so there's no good way to figure who she is from here or from me and I won't tell you, so.
SQEAKY: We covered PC efficiency back in Episode 13: Oil and Climate Change with the Rock Doctor because California changed some laws.
SOURCE [4:03] 0013 - Oil and Climate Change with the Rock Doctor - https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/episode-13-oil-and-climate-change-with-the-rock-doctor
SQEAKY: And the laws are just impossible to decipher, they're like a secret code.
MAKO: Regrettably, yeah.
SQEAKY: But, like any secret code if you spend enough time and effort on it you can decipher it. And that's exactly what Linus Tech Tips did, and there's a link to one of their videos. And they go over exactly what makes a PC shippable to California or not. And it's not exactly complex, it's just 'Don't build a stupid PC.'
SOURCE [4:25] Linus explains the Power efficiency rules - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aU_jWooBxzIia
MAKO: That sounds straightforward to the layman but I mean... something tells me it may not necessarily be that simple to all parties involved.
SQEAKY: Well, the only group that fucked it up was Dell. ABK Kustomz, the s-
SPONSOR [4:38] ABK Kustomz - https://abk-kustomz.com/
SQEAKY: -sponsor of the show, they can do it.
SQEAKY: Origin PC, HP, Lenovo, they all figured it out. Six different states have these laws and they're all not worried about it. It-
SQEAKY: It boils down to expandability per watt. The more powerful the machine is, the more expandable it needs to be. And there are rules on like how many USB ports makes something expandable, how many PCIe ports... The more ports and expansion a computer has, the better. And Dell has a combination of low expandability, crappy power supplies, and crappy sleep performance so while the machine is in an unused state, all of that taken together, they decided it wasn't even worth the effort to attempt to certify their computers.
MAKO: That is um... That is pretty special levels of garbage.
SQEAKY: We're talking about Dell.
MAKO: Yeah like, I had an idea of where Dell was, like on the garbage-o-meter before, and it's... it's moved. Like, I don't disagree that Dell is garbage, but they're even hotter garbage than I thought.
SQEAKY: Do you remember back when we worked in that pawn shop together?
MAKO: That's one way to phrase it, yeah.
SQEAKY: Yeah, but, when we would get in those like, pallets full of just busted laptops and then I would start taking them and frankensteining them into working machines?
MAKO: Uh, I don't remember them being laptops, but yes.
SQEAKY: Sometimes there were laptops. I think you got mostly the little small form factor PCs.
SQEAKY: They sent a bunch of laptops my way. The reason I was able to assemble so many Dells from there, is 'cause there were so many Dells coming in. Something like half of the laptops were like Dell Inspirons. So I'd just rip them apart, see what failed, re-assemble 'em. And even back then- This was like fifteen years ago. Dell was making garbage then.
MAKO: Apparently at least they were still making serviceable garbage.
SQEAKY: Anything serviceable enough with enough uh, willingness to cut and use hot glue to hold a PC together.
MAKO: I dunno. I remember the last time I tried to open up a Dell and it became very obvious very rapidly that they deliberately engineered it to prevent people like me from servicing it.
SQEAKY: Yeah I pretty much agree with you there. Um, just one more thing for people listening. If you're not familiar with this, again this is back in episode 13, but I'll also link to wonderfulengineering.com. They are a great example of just wild fear mongering. They didn't do any basic amount of research. They have no explanation why Dell can't ship gaming computers to certain places, which is what this is all about. They're claiming that gaming computers won't ship at all, or at least they imply that. So, there's a bunch of people saying that gaming computers can't be sold and just generally fear mongering around gamers when really the truth is more nuanced. It does hit Dell, doesn't hit anyone else.
SOURCE [6:56] While at the same time others are fearmonger - https://wonderfulengineering.com/this-gaming-pc-has-been-banned-for-consuming-too-much-power/
SQEAKY: You have any uh, final words on any of this?
MAKO: Not particularly.
SQEAKY: Would we still be saying that Dell's garbage if we didn't- if we weren't sponsored by a PC manufacturer?
SQEAKY: I can confidently say ABK Kustomz is not garbage.
SQEAKY: Our sponsor's gonna love hearing this. You're so enthusiastic.
MAKO: Well, I'm just saying. Li--Wh-Cu- You're the one that knows them personally and if you had anything other than that to say about them, then that would be very unfortunate.
SQEAKY: I will introduce you.
SQEAKY: We're good?
MAKO: Soon, we'll be past this. Soon.
SQEAKY: I'm just disappointed in myself.
MAKO: Me too.
SQEAKY: You're disappointed in me? What?! Damn!
MAKO: It just seemed like the right thing to say at the time, but I don't mean it.
SQEAKY: I figured that we should instead of occasionally having episodes covering COVID maybe spend a few minutes each episode --try to keep it short-- discussing COVID for just a hot minute, 'cause there's so much misinformation around it.
MAKO: Yeah we'll we'll actually see if we can keep it to a minute.
SQEAKY: I don't think we're gonna keep it to a minute but if we keep it to five I'll be thrilled.
MAKO: That seems reasonable.
SQEAKY: Okay. Some things I've learned recently. I stumbled across an episode of Sawbones that actually suggests how to approach people when they're suffering with vaccine hesitancy.
SOURCE [8:09] Sawbones episode on Vaccine Hesitancy - https://maximumfun.org/episodes/sawbones/how-to-talk-about-vaccine-hesitancy/
SQEAKY: And they're suggesting just get them to speak to a doctor. That's actually a really good idea because doctors are positioned well and they're like deep de facto trusted sources of information.
MAKO: They're viewed as a uh... As authority.
MAKO: That can... yeah.
SQEAKY: If your doctor tells you to do a thing, you at least know that's the right thing to do even if you're going to keep eating red meat, keep putting salt on things, keep smoking, keep killing yourself however you're going to do it, you at least know the doctor told you not to when it's a bad idea.
MAKO: Well, okay. I think a minor addendum. Personal physician is definitely in that position.
MAKO: 'Cause, how many times did we hear people going to the ER and the doctor tells them they have COVID and they're like that's not possible, COVID's a hoax, tell me what's actually wrong with me, then they die.
SQEAKY: Yeah uh, I'm not gonna claim this is per- this is going to change everyone's mind. But there is a category of people.
SQEAKY: Right so if you're stuck arguing with someone about COVID, ask them to... ask them to go to their doctor and have this conversation.
SQEAKY: And if nothing else, the doctor is well practiced and should have the vaccine on-hand, so...
SQEAKY: Another COVID topic. I've actually encountered this one in person: People pushing ivermectin and remdesivir.
*Mako is disappointed*
SQEAKY: I'm not sure exactly what remdesivir is used for, but I know it doesn't work on COVID because a Greenville County... this is uh... is this in Texas? But a Republican party leader in this rural county was on a Remdesivir regimen and died of COVID.
SOURCE [9:27] republican leader in texas dies rejecting the vaccine - https://m.dailykos.com/stories/2021/8/19/2046996/-Greenville-County-Republican-leader-die
SQEAKY: I got a source in the show notes.
MAKO: He deteriorated over the course of a month, went on a ventilator, and did not wake up.
SQEAKY: Which is typical for the course of someone who is dying of COVID and on no medicine at all.
SQEAKY: It's almost like remdesiver does nothing. I'm not super well-versed on what that is, but I know ivermectin is for deworming sheep...
MAKO: And horses and other animals...
SQEAKY: ...and chickens, yeah.
SQEAKY: And there's actually even cases for using it on people. There are human prescriptions for Ivermectin you can get, and they're in doses appropriate for people instead of horses.
SQEAKY & MAKO: But-
SQEAKY: -even then, what it treats is worms and parasites.
MAKO: Yeah. Like initially the FDA scrambled to say "Like guys, don't take this drug" because somebody attempted to self-medicate it and ended up in the hospital.
SQEAKY: Oh, there's actually been an uptick in poison control center calls for ivermectin overdoses in Mississippi, Texas, and Alabama.
SOURCE [10:17] Tennesee legislature discusses ivermectin - https://www.rawstory.com/ivermectin-horse-paste-for-humans/
MAKO: That makes sense.
SQEAKY: And the source for that by the way is rawstory.com. Check out the "ivermectin horse paste for humans" URL.
SQEAKY: Yeah, so. I think it was Tennessee that was trying to pass a bill to let horses- I'm sorry, to let people-
SQEAKY: I'm sorry, they didn't pass it they just discussed it on the legislator- on the legislature floor.
MAKO: The yeah. They tried to make the argument that the FDA and CDC guidance is just a guide and they're not under any kind of obligation to follow what the federal government says and they have the power to force these medications through-
SQEAKY: Well technically the FDA guidelines are just a guide, but if you don't listen to the experts' guidelines, you're kinda dumb.
MAKO: Yeah. They're- these people are very obviously d- I can't even imagine what they think they're accomplishing here, but...
SQEAKY: So, part of the problem is that- and the Skepticrats highlighted this, they're the ones who alerted me, and I've got a source to one of their episodes, but most of the Ivermectin studies on COVID treatment say that there's no effect in appropriate doses in appropriate conditions.
SOURCE [11:20] Skepticrats dismantle ivermectin - https://www.stitcher.com/show/the-skepticrat/episode/156-skepticrat156-lindellible-marker-edition-86133160
SQEAKY: One paper with faked data was able to bring the average of a bunch of papers added together up to the point where it looked like Ivermectin was barely statistically significant. If you take this paper out, Ivermectin looks like nothing. It just looks like it's treating something not related to COVID unless you take an overdose like a horse dose and you die, but this one paper was full of fake data, full of all kinds of problems. There was one guy who in the paper was noted as doing something on a date that didn't exist. The data was faked clearly, the abstract was copy and pasted from somewhere. The Skepticrats' sketch on this was hilarious. Go watch it, and they also cite sources for where they got it and I'll have sources in the show notes for this. It's so obviously fake.
SOURCE [12:01] Jack Lawrence first identified problem with Ivermectin study - https://grftr.news/why-was-a-major-study-on-ivermectin-for-covid-19-just-retracted
SQEAKY: Sorry, did I interrupt you?
MAKO: No, just- It's interesting when something is so obviously fake, like usually you just have to point out like uh... Smaller methodology flaws. Be like oh yeah, this could introduce some bias probably and then be in a spot where you are like you need more studies to actually verify and cut through any flaws that this study may have. But in this case you're just like no, this is- what the fuck are you even doing, this is very obviously a lie, stop.
SQEAKY: Yeah, the original publication that posted this retracted it, and it had -if I remember correctly- people checking out of hospitals on June 31st, which isn't a date. June ends on the 30th.
SQEAKY: So, clearly they did something wrong. They were manipulating data after the fact. Too bad this wasn't peer reviewed.
MAKO: That does sound sketchy.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Well the peer review process has been under strain for a while. We've been in that duplication crisis, which is a topic for a whole other episode.
SQEAKY: I'm sure you've got something else you want to say on this?
SQEAKY: That covers most the things I brought up.
MAKO: Yeah, so, looking around what the newest news on COVID is and I mean as much as there is just new stories to tell and new details to old topics relating to COVID I wanted to focus on something a little different. So there recently have been just a few talks about potentially getting a third shot or getting a booster shot is probably the better term because not all vaccines are dual dose like the Johnson & Johnson. But getting an additional booster because there are concerns over how long these vaccines are going to last, like how long do they remain effective. And there have been a bunch of studies that are trying to ascertain that and a lot of the studies do say that vaccine effectiveness wanes over time even timescales that we are starting to experience now. It is a belief of many people that the current outbreaks of delta in Israel is the result of waning vaccine effectiveness.
SOURCE [13:57] Vaccine effectiveness may be waning - https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2021/08/do-delta-breakthroughs-really-mean-vaccine-protection-waning-and-are-boosters-answer
SQEAKY: How firm are we on that? Is that like a scientists' suspicion or do we have like hard data on that?
MAKO: We have data but I'm not sure I'd describe it as hard data. We have good reason to believe it but we can't assert it as fact yet.
SQEAKY: Okay, so. The current leading belief among experts is people who were vaccinated in the beginning, their vaccination might be wearing off, now would be a good time for boosters probably and if anyone is speaking against this they are probably full of crap unless they are providing peer-reviewed papers.
MAKO: Yeah. In fact, Israel is already rolling out a program for getting booster shots and that's kicking off. But the general belief is that particularly with the mRNA vaccines that with the dual dose high levels of effectiveness are only going to remain effective for six months is what the preliminary data seems to show.
SQEAKY: Ooh, that's rough. Vaccination rates seem to show like getting the flu shot each year, those are pretty low. Something like half of Americans don't get it.
SQEAKY: If I remember right, older people are more likely to get it, like sixty-five-ish percent, and younger people are less likely to take it as they get younger, down to like thirty percent for eighteen-year-olds.
SOURCE [15:04] Flu vaccine rate 30% to 60% depending on age group - https://www.cdc.gov/flu/fluvaxview/coverage-1920estimates.html
MAKO: Yeah, so. There was a couple of specific details and they also did point out that just across the board the existing vaccines are less effective against delta, so that's another thing to keep in mind.
SQEAKY: Isn't it just a little bit different too, that's why?
MAKO: Yeah. It's not a huge gap in effectiveness but it is less effective. So there was one study that focused on nursing home residents and it found that the mRNA vaccines, they dropped from being around seventy-five percent effective pre-delta to fifty-three percent effective post-delta. That's a pretty substantial drop.
MAKO: But it is a very specific demographic. Uh, 'nother study claims that effectiveness for all three major vaccines --so Johnson & Johnson, Pfizer, Moderna-- dropped from ninety-one-point-seven percent --and this is across all age groups that can be vaccinated, mind you-- ninety-one-point-seven percent to seventy-nine-point-eight percent between May and July this year. Exactly how they collected that data I'm not entirely clear on but I mean if-
SQEAKY: It's because we have ongoing studies, because this isn't untested.
MAKO: Oh, that is the obvious high-level answer, yes. But when you're collecting this information, there's methodologies to be considered and I'm just saying I don't know what the methodology is.
SQEAKY: Okay. Can I liven things up a little bit and move away from lots of horrible death?
MAKO: Yeah I think so.
SQEAKY: I probably can't actually. I have one last thing on the topic of COVID.
MAKO: Okay, sure.
SOURCE [16:23] 5x What you say, But What I hear - https://m.imgur.com/gallery/2GDNw3r
SQEAKY: Can you go to the imgur link?
MAKO: Imgur link... The five...
MAKO: ...what you say what I hear yeah.
SQEAKY: Would you rather read the green or the white parts?
MAKO: Okay I think white. I'll go with white.
SQEAKY: Mako and I found this little thing of just five things that bad people say when they don't want to get vaccinated, just kind of horrible things they can say and easy rebuttals that you might use.
SQEAKY: When they say "Most people don't die from it!"
MAKO: What I hear is "The thousands of people who die from COVID-19 every week are insignificant to me."
SQEAKY: Damn. If you tell someone they think other people are insignificant, that's really calling out their ego.
MAKO: Maybe. Seems like the type of thing that p- a lot of these people would probably be able to shrug off.
SQEAKY: Okay. When they say "We have to get back to our lives."
MAKO: God I fuckin' hate that one. What I hear: "The response to COVID-19 should be tailored to my tolerance for inconvenience regardless of other peoples' safety."
SQEAKY: I feel like you can only call out people's ego so much before they uh... capitulate.
MAKO: My thought is yeah, you're right, we do need to get back to our lives, so how 'bout we crush this fucking virus by following the fucking guidance until it's solved?
SQEAKY: Would be easy, wouldn't it?
*Mako laughs in pain*
SQEAKY: When they say: "I don't live in fear."
MAKO: Oh fuck yes you do you dumb piece of shit- sorry. What I hear "I'm willing to endanger the people around me to prove how brave I am."
SQEAKY: Ow. Okay. When they say "Keeping me at home is a violation of my freedom."
MAKO: Don't even know what fucking freedom is. What I hear "The most pressing injustice right now is my inconvenience, not other people getting sick and dying." That... Okay. That also kinda reminds me of quote from Futurama where Bender says "This is the worst kind of discrimination: the kind against me."
*Sqeaky sighs heavily*
SQEAKY: Okay. When they say "You're exaggerating because you're out to get Trump."
MAKO: Right, 'cause everything revolves around Trump. Dumb fuck. What I hear "I can't imagine caring about other people unless they can be used as political weapons."
SQEAKY: That pretty much sums it up. If someone's pointing out Trump because of COVID, they're not operating in good faith, they're not operating on reality or evidence.
MAKO: Nah, just anything that is anti-them they're going to try and steer back to that somehow whether it has any basis or not and it's just completely irrational to be polite about it.
SQEAKY: You wanna be done with COVID for now?
MAKO: I think we're good.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Let us know. Don't forget to reach out to us. email@example.com, uh, reddit.com/r/dysevidentia, or tweet at us @dysevidentia. Let us know if you like this idea of touching on this. We'll listen to every tweet and every email. We'll get back to you if we can.
MAKO: Do you need a computer? Go to abk-kustomz.com. That is A B K dash K U S T O M Z .com to speak to an expert to get the computer you need. Sqeaky knows one of the builders over there. He is knowledgeable and eager to please. Give them code "evidence" for a ten percent discount on your next computer.
SQEAKY: Ah, Afghanistan, the topic that suddenly everybody is an expert on.
MAKO: Yeah, it's funny how that works.
SQEAKY: Yeah, I think we should make it clear. We're not experts on this either.
MAKO: Oh no, not in the slightest.
SQEAKY: Yeah, I mean we've been around since the beginning of this. I mean we were there, we were old enough to remember what happened for 9/11, but living through it doesn't make us experts. There's millions of viewpoints, neither of us have even been to Afghanistan.
SQEAKY: But we do understand evidence and the limits of it, and we can call out some bad claims.
SQEAKY: Have you heard anything specifically bad on this in social media or in your social circles? People just saying dumb shit?
MAKO: Um... I mean, not really. Most of the people that I communicate with are just in the camp of 'Oh wow, it's actually happening.' But beyond that, not really.
SQEAKY: Yeah, I've been hyper exposed to it. Like in LinkedIn, looking around, talking to people, plugging the show, people have been all of the sudden experts in this. Looking back a couple weeks, everyone was like 'Why isn't Biden pulling us out? Trump said that we should get out. This is terrible. Biden-' Trump supporters were shouting that we really needed to Afghanistan, and now that we're getting out of Afghanistan, there's a whole bunch of Trump supporters that are staunchly in favor of us staying, and that's ridiculous.
MAKO: Yeah they flip-flop based on whatever outrage they're told to express at the time. That's really what that is.
SQEAKY: Yeah, and this is part of why we're, I don't know... attacking conservatism more? I mean, I don't want to take a hard political stance I want to side with the evidence, so we'll change as soon as better or new evidence comes in.
SQEAKY: But there just isn't much to insult liberals on in regard to this kind of things. Recently liberals have been aligned with evidence.
SQEAKY: And when they're not, I'll call them out.
MAKO: Yeah. There's only one party that seems to be engaging in an ongoing active campaign against truth.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Not that that means Biden's clear. He's... I don't want to call him conservative, but he's not as liberal as he could be.
MAKO: Yeah, a lot of people called him conservative-light on the campaign trail.
SQEAKY: Yeah. And depending on how you want to measure that, that's either entirely true or entirely false.
SQEAKY: Like uh... I'm trying to remember it. There was a group that rated politicians based on how liberal or how conservative they were. They tried to rate on how politicians voted or which policies they are for or against, how liberal or how conservative they are.
SOURCE [21:31} Biden not so liberal - https://www.politifact.com/factchecks/2019/may/06/joe-biden/joe-biden-claims-he-was-staunch-liberal-senate-he-/
SQEAKY: Don't know how I want to view that. Because if you're a center-leaning or intentionally moderate organization, there's a real chance that you miss viewpoints that either side have, so you will fundamentally pull politicians towards the middle because you don't understand the views in a nuanced enough way to get there. But at least they're trying and they produce a paper trail so there's some rigour. We can go back and say 'Why did they get the answer they did?'. But we are way off topic. I have this poll that Americans want the war in Afghanistan to end. Why do I- 538 alerted me to that poll.
SQEAKY: And uh, I'll go dig through their stuff and find it.
SOURCE [22:04] 538 Podcast on the Politics of Afghanistan - https://fivethirtyeight.com/features/politics-podcast-americans-wanted-to-end-the-war-in-afghanistan-will-that-change/
MAKO: Yeah I remember that being a common talking point for both Democrats and Republicans that are like 'Hey, let- Why are we still in this country? Blah-bluh blah-bluh blah.' and now yeah, all sorts of things... And again it's not really coming from my social circle all that much, but I still see it on social media. People complaining about how 'No, we need to safeguard other assets there' or 'We need to show strength' or-
SQEAKY: What I dislike is that I'm simultaneously hearing from a lot of conservatives that we don't owe Afghanistan anything and then them simultaneously saying we need to save everybody over there. So it's like well, what do you mean here? And some people try to draw fine line and they try to draw distinctual "We need to save every American, but no Afghans." and even a fine line like that doesn't work. A lot of the people who worked as like translators or worked as local guides for the US Military...
SQEAKY: ...worked to get citizenship and some of them have citizenship, and that line cuts them out. So it's just-
MAKO: So my-
SQEAKY: It's not a coherent thought process!
MAKO: Well you're right, you're right. It's not coherent. Uh, my theory for why that is, is like a lot of things in politics regrettably...
SQEAKY: Ooh, can I guess can I guess?!
MAKO: I don't think you're gonna get it but yeah sure.
SQEAKY: So it's not racism?
MAKO: That's not what I was gonna say.
MAKO: Now 'cause like, like you said, they're in favor of simultaneously getting people out of Afghanistan and not wanting to be in Afghanistan like not wanting to help, like... So it's one thing to say oh yeah, maybe it's just that they want to save American lives. And that is pretty straightforward intuitive like the whole tribalism thing, you want to save your own people, but I think it's more like emotional, like these people are capable of making the emotional decision that human lives are valuable and worth saving, but simultaneously acting off of the emotional conditioning that Afghans are less than human.
SQEAKY: You could have just said racism.
MAKO: It's a little more nuanced than that.
SQEAKY: Yeah, yeah. But how nuanced do we need to be?
MAKO: I don't know. Do people want to understand the mentality or no?
SQEAKY: 538 in their episode, they likened it to the Fall of Saigon when we were leaving Vietnam. It seems more orderly than that by a little...
MAKO: Oh yeah, by a little.
SQEAKY: Uh, and even Biden apparently in some leaked memos he likened it to that as well, and said he'll be fine politically. John Oliver talks about that one and it's kinda gross. And where they snipped- Where John Oliver really hit Biden was where he claimed he wanted zero responsibility and that piece looked really cut up so I'm like is John Oliver really trying to like hit Biden hard? And I went and looked at it and I found the original clip. He makes Biden look better.
SQEAKY: 'Cause Biden drops into ridiculous whataboutism saying nonsense like "Why don't we go help the Uyghurs" or "We shouldn't go help- If you want me to help the Afghans that means we should go help the Uyghurs" and I'm like well, nobody brought up the Uyghurs here except you, and we didn't get done with a twenty year war in West China, so, no Biden, that's shit logic.
SOURCE [24:53] Biden Does some Whataboutism Non-sense - https://www.facebook.com/CBSNews/videos/2922139014766869/
MAKO: Also, if we have the capacity to help the Uyghurs, then yeah, let's uh... I don't mind exploring that.
SQEAKY: Yeah. And we could help the Uhgars purely economically. Like if we went to China and said hey, you're gonna stop this or we're gonna just not let electronics through in like a week it would be fixed. China would figure that shit out. They would fight us for six days, day seven it would be fixed.
MAKO: Yeah, I believe it.
SQEAKY: I'm not claiming to be an expert there, but China needs a customer for all the shit they're making, we need a bunch of shit to be made.
MAKO: Yeah. We have super strong economic ties with China, and if we... if we flex that stuff they're gonna start by firing back but I think... depending on how we leverage it and I think we could leverage it better than China could.
SQEAKY: Historically we have.
SQEAKY: Historically... I mean just how we've gained our power since the post-war years is by being the economic hegemon. We've controlled how money flows, we decide who gets money, and maybe you've heard it in the news. Every time we do economic sanctions what that really means is that we're not allowing certain kinds of money or resources into a country.
SQEAKY: So like North Korea right now? They are under economic sanctions. Part of why nobody there has a computer, an iPad, a TV, or anything like that is we're not allowing any luxury good into the country, and we tell all of our trading partners "Hey, if you send luxury goods to North Korea, we won't trade with you either." So, people are given the choice of be on the side of the US or be on the side of North Korea, and North Korea's got nothing so they're like oh, I guess I have to be on the side of the US and it actually works. It puts huge strain on North Korea and they won't really pose a threat- well, depending on your scale of threat.
SQEAKY: I mean they could apparently launch a nuke at someone, but there's no way they could win that war.
SQEAKY: They would start a war by killing apparently everybody in Seoul, and then they'd immediately just be crushed and die as a swarm of allies-
MAKO: They would.
SQEAKY: -attack them.
MAKO: It would be the last act they ever committed.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Blah. Way off in theory territory here.
SQEAKY: Not a lot of good strong evidence supporting us.
SQEAKY: So that's my conjecture for how that would go down. If anybody has evidence to the counter let me know, I do want to hear it.
SQEAKY: On why we went into Afghanistan, I guess?
MAKO: Yeah well, there's a few different reasons why we went into Afghanistan. The biggest most obvious one, the thing that sparked the flame so to speak was the attacks on September 11th, 2001.
MAKO: And our hunt for Osama bin Laden but once there I mean we... we maintained presence there a- The original stated purpose was because Afghanistan was being used as a haven for terrorist activity and we wanted to create an environment in Afghanistan that was not conducive for the creation or housing of terrorists.
SQEAKY: So we wanted a country not ruled by the Taliban.
MAKO: That's a... an unfortunate and accurate way to phrase that, yes.
SQEAKY: So, just to clarify. I'm trying not to be partisan here. Bush brought us into this, Obama perpetuated it, Trump didn't stop it, Biden is stopping it. But I don't want to give credit to Democrats or Republicans because when this all started, one person voted against it.
MAKO: Yep, that is true. Minor addendum. Biden... he didn't make the initial decision to stop it, Trump did.
SQEAKY: That's true.
MAKO: And Biden is simply carrying that out because it actually lines up with Biden's thoughts on Afghanistan somewhat well. Not perfect, but he's cognicint of the counter-terrorism mission in Afghanistan, but he thinks that pretty much everything else there is more or less a lost cause, at least near as I can tell.
SQEAKY: Yeah he's per the notes that you've added here, he's been talking about that since at least 2009.
SOURCE [28:12] The reason why Biden is confident about an Afghanistan withdrawl - https://www.vox.com/2021/8/18/22629135/biden-afghanistan-withdrawal-reasons
MAKO: Yeah. And he... He was skeptical of some of the intelligence reports regarding like the Taliban's reach and things like that. He consistently asked for like more coherent goals in Afghanistan and claims that he wasn't really able to get good answers for those goals or... and that we just didn't see good progress on the more nebulous goals that were provided. And that's technically true. There has been progress and good things that have happened in Afghanistan but compared to the amount of resources and time that have been put in there, the gains are somewhat abysmal.
SQEAKY: Yah. It's my understanding we've kinda just created a class of crime lords.
MAKO: It... definitely enabled them... created might be a bit strong of a word but we definitely enabled them.
SQEAKY: Okay that seems reasonable. So, we move in, we fight for twenty years, we pull out, and we have what exactly to show for it? 'Cause Taliban is taking over everything again. It is my understand that they have everything outside of cob-ble... Kabul? I don't know how to pronounce things, I only hear it on the news everyday.
SQEAKY: They apparently have large portions or all of Kabul outside of the airport.
SQEAKY: So, yeah, these twenty years of fighting didn't get us much.
SQEAKY: I also have to wonder if we could've had a better exit, but I don't have any evidence that says we could.
MAKO: A lot of these things seem very very poorly planned.
MAKO: I don't know what the details are for a lot of the stuff 'cause-
SQEAKY: It just isn't publicly released papers or documents-
SQEAKY: -We don't know what they're doing or why they're planning it. So anybody saying that they know... Well you're either leaking classified information and... well, y'know, problematic that way, or you're full of crap.
MAKO: Classified or not it's a pretty reasonable presumption that you wouldn't want United States armament to fall into Taliban hands.
SQEAKY: That seems true.
MAKO: So that much is like well did they realize this, did they make some other cost assessment, like what- I don't know what the rationale was there but that just doesn't seem like the type of thing that would be like oh yeah that's fine.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Letting those weapons get away does seem super shitty. And we have a ton of evidence of that. We have pictures of Afghan soldiers with American guns. There is another category of evidence that we can look at. Trump's previous performance. When did Trump ever do anything effectively or intelligently?
MAKO: I do... I can't recall the specific circumstances but I do recall reading a couple news story- like exactly two during the entire term where I was like oh yeah, that... that seems like ok- it's an okay thing.
SQEAKY: Okay fine, but out of the many many things he did.
MAKO: Out of the literal hundreds if not thousands of things, I can recall two, except I can only recall that there were two, not explicitly what they were.
SQEAKY: Yeah 'cause like not his legal cases against the election...
MAKO: Definitely not that.
SQEAKY: None of these things did he do intelligently or effectively. So if he planned... I wish I could put air quotes in over the podcast... If he planned pulling out, what are the chances it was just horribly botched?
SQEAKY: Yeah, and I can't say for sure it was horribly botched, but I have no reason to believe it wasn't.
MAKO: A lot of positions in his administration were left vacant. Like, people were leaving he just wasn't replacing them and it wasn't well organized... It... Having information just being lost...
MAKO: Because of mismanagement and understaffing is just easy to believe.
SQEAKY: So then Biden is given what six months to formulate a plan to pull out of a twenty year war? I mean that's doable, but I would expect it to be a shitshow, and what do we have?
MAKO: A shitshow.
SQEAKY: That we know about. Maybe... maybe there's great secret plans. Maybe all those guns are secretly poisoned or something.
SQEAKY: That's some spy novel shit. That would be hilarious.
MAKO: Uh, yeah.
SQEAKY: All these guns that the US troops left behind only fire backwards.
MAKO: Wow. That'd be neat.
SQEAKY: To go on back to the beginning again.
SQEAKY: After 9/11 there was this authorization to use military force. Um, it's only sixty words long actually. There's some legal boiler play, but it is really short. And RadioLab has an awesome episode covering this. And it's like an hour long listen. I gave it another listen just before we recorded today, and it goes deep into what Barbara Lee, what Representative Barbara Lee was feeling, discussing, and thinking when she cast her one vote against approving this a... functional declaration of war against an unknown adversary.
SQEAKY: And she was against it primarily because it was too broadly worded, which was prescient from her perspective. And even other people who were worried about it at the time disagreed from her. And with the information at the time, I think even today I would've strongly disagreed with her if you just transplant 2021 Sqeaky back to 2001, y'know if we relived 9/11 would we vote for this attack? Probably.
MAKO: Okay so my memory is hazy because two decades, but I want to say there were people that were raising the alarm like okay well you want to go over there you want to counter-attack... the problem with the counter-attack is that in conventional wisdom you attack countries. Countries have well-defined borders, well-defined armies, and so the engagement is thus also well-defined. But take that away and it just it gets much harder, much messier. And people did point at Vietnam as a example that's commonly taught in history for exactly this. So they were like well, okay, if you don't have a clear objective and you especially don't have a clear enemy, what are you even doing, how are you going to attack this, what is your plan? And a lot of people at the time, their response was so what, do we do nothing?
SQEAKY: I think that captures most of it. Also a big counterpoint was just the word unity. People wanted to stand together as Americans. We were standing together. This was one of the brief periods in my lifetime that the president had an approval rating higher than sixty percent. I believe Bush's approval rating shot up to like ninety percent for brief periods.
SQEAKY: Let me read the relevant portion of the Authorization for Use of United States Armed Forces as it's titled in the actual document.
SQEAKY: And there's some legal boiler play above it and below it, but the relevant part is: "That the President is authorized to use all necessary and appropriate force against those nations, organizations, or persons he determines planned, authorized, committed, or aided the terrorist attacks that occured on September 11th, 2001 or harbored such organizations or persons in order to prevent any future acts of terrorism against the United States by such nations, organizations, or persons." That's the whole thing. Sixty words.
SOURCE [34:26] Wikipedia has the AUMF Text - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Authorization_for_Use_of_Military_Force_of_2001
MAKO: That is indeed incredibly broad.
SQEAKY: Yeah, so you're exactly right. The people voting against this were like well what does that let them attack? Well...
SQEAKY: Anywhere. And it's the justification for pretty much every drone strike, for creating a Guantanamo Bay, for enhanced interrogation techniques. It approves so much.
SQEAKY: And you're right, people saw the wisdom in pruning and pulling this back, but everyone saw the need to stand together and decide to fight an enemy and get congress on board for a vote.
MAKO: People were angry.
SQEAKY: Oh yeah.
MAKO: They wanted action, and urging caution was just not going to temper that anger at all.
SQEAKY: Yeah. And that's unfortunate that cooler heads can't prevail when it's so important, 'cause we went to Iraq first, didn't we?
MAKO: Yeah I think so.
SQEAKY: And then before that like wrapped up or really got underway we also went into Afghanistan.
SQEAKY: And then we have tons of other lesser engagements in other places, so. Did we accomplish what we wanted in any place? I don't know.
MAKO: Well, one of our goals was "Kill Osama bin Laden". We did that. One of our goals was to remove Saddam Hussein from power, we did that. But I don't think we accomplished any other goal.
SQEAKY: I'm just curious if there's any total death count of the War on Terror and seeing if there's anybody who has actually counted everything. This place seems totally partisan... but the so-called War on Terror has killed over eight-hundred-and-one thousand people and cost six point four trillion dollars according to this one random site. Let me see if they're actually any good if anybody corroborates that. That actually sounds really close to what I was expecting. Yeah they seem pretty partisan, I'll vet them, I'll find some sources for that, but rather than just going with that one number, I'll say that the War on Terror has probably killed between half a million and one million people depending on how you slice it and the wars have cost us trillions and trillions of dollars, so.
SOURCE [36:09] The War on Terror cost 801,000 lives - https://www.brown.edu/news/2019-11-13/costsofwar
SQEAKY: Is that an appropriate price for killing the leader who attacked us?
SQEAKY: Afghanistan's gonna be destabilized again, it's...
MAKO: To clarify my no. If we had set that as an explicit goal and just moved in with just that goal in mind, we could have done it for way cheaper.
SQEAKY: In the free marketplace of killing people? America could probably buy a cheaper solution, yeah.
MAKO: Very easily.
SQEAKY: Why do we keep touching on these heavy hard topics? Didn't we want to do humor at some point?
SQEAKY: So we have no good answers, we have no hard opinions.
SQEAKY: Other than just to heap onto the pile of people saying this is a shitshow. We have good evidence for that.
MAKO: Yeah. So yeah on the question of do we stay or do we go, staying is expensive and probably wouldn't yield good results, certainly not in the short term and if we go we create an absolute shitshow that we don't know how everything is going to land and that last part is exactly where we are right now.
SQEAKY: Yeah I personally do like the idea of getting out of there, but I could think of a dozen different better ways to make that happen.
SQEAKY: I don't like what Biden's doing or how he's doing it, but... Nah, there's no but there. I think this could be done better, but I don't have good evidence to back that up so that's just my personal opinion, and that's it. You have the personal opinion of two randos from Nebraska on this.
SQEAKY: 'Cause there just isn't hard evidence out there for this and we just have to sometimes accept that 'I don't know' is okay.
MAKO: Yeh. And we may get that evidence one day, and it's perfectly fine to change your opinion as you get new evidence.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Maybe something new will come out. Like this definitely made me think less of Biden, his interview with CBS News, where he just said we have no responsibility: that's bullshit.
MAKO: That is absolute bullshit, yes.
SQEAKY: But that doesn't give us any insight into the greater Afghanistan part of this. Like yeah we have a responsibility, what do we do with it? Well fuck, that's a hard question.
SQEAKY: Okay, uh... We cited 538, Vox, WNYC Studios for RadioLabs, I read the AUMF from Wikipedia, we have links to John Oliver, and the video where John Oliver made Biden look better, I'll link to that where CBS hosted it on Facebook. Gross. But all those links will be in the show notes.
SQEAKY: And all of our listeners who are actually sticking with us should go back over to the raffle and see if there's someplace to type in "evidence14" with no spaces. That should give you some extra chances to win and hopefully some of these prizes go to listeners who like and appreciate the podcast and want to support us.
SQEAKY: Let me get the sound cover thingy.
SQEAKY: My mic nearly there. Here is the gain. Correct knob. I was turning the wrong knob! Fuck! I know how to adjust our equipment. We didn't blow a whole bunch of Patron money on forgetting to read the manual.
MAKO: No, never.
SQEAKY: Well, let's... Let's get off of those heavy topics like war and Afghanistan and onto some light topics like religion.
MAKO: Well, UFOs and God to be more specific.
SQEAKY: So I just picked these two topics because they come up constantly.
SQEAKY: I'm constantly debating with people online about something related to these. And I figure we've all had to deal with someone talking about God or UFOs at one point or another. Maybe even some of us believe in UFOs or have some nuanced view.
MAKO: When I was a teenager, I was super super into UFO stuff.
SQEAKY: When I was a little kid I was. I thought it was really cool. But I was also into astronomy and stuff.
MAKO: Oh yeah.
SQEAKY: I had a cheap shitty telescope and I'm like where are all the UFOs? How do I find them? I guess I'm a little kid some I'm not hanging out near enough top secret bases, maybe that'll happen when I get to be older.
MAKO: My take was a little bit different. I wasn't constantly like "How do I view a UFO?" I was just like oh people are saying all this crazy shit. Why are they saying it? What are they saying? And I was just taking it all in and trying to make sense of it and eventually it got to the point where I would see one explanation and that would flow into another and then into another and into another and into another and then like at the end of it I would just be like "But this doesn't really explain anything." It's neat to think about. Like, I like scifi, but-
SQEAKY: So my big revelation on that was ghosts. Where I'm like "Well hang on. In my Dungeons and Dragons book"- that doesn't date me. I had a Dungeons and Dragon- A Dungeons and Dragons Second Edition book back when I was like seven or eight and I'm like "Well it says right here that y'know, raw iron or cold iron weapons can hurt ghosts so that's probably based in reality. Why would they make something that wasn't?"
MAKO: Oh, Sqeaky...
SQEAKY: I got better.
MAKO: Okay, good. Good.
SQEAKY: But then I started learning about other peoples' thought processes on ghosts and I'm like what if I just try to categorize ghosts and for like a week or two I was trying to make a chart of like different kinds of ghosts. And eventually I realized wait, there's no actual category of ghosts. They're not a species of things because people are just making shit up. That's... I can accept that very simple explanation, or I can go through and try to test all these different kinds of ghosts but I've never seen a ghost. I did manage to go some place that people thought was haunted but like I didn't see any ghosts 'cause ghosts aren't real. But I can- even as an adult I acknowledge I can not prove ghosts are real, but I will assert they're not real. Because every time we've ever gotten a coherent piece of theory of ghosts we go and debunk it, it doesn't match up.
MAKO: Yeah I kinda started on the ghost rabbit hole later in my life compared to UFOs, and I started looking at ghost stuff. And I got introduced to it- Of course I'm familiar with the concept of ghosts and I have been for most of my life but just like ghost as a conspiracy theory type of topic, y'know, that kind of stuff. I was exposed later by a friend. They tried to explain a bunch of these things to me and I did just the slightest bit of digging on the topic and one of the first things that I found was that well there were individual people in groups that claimed to have evidence of ghosts... None of their evidence seemed to be uh... replicable. That's if the... the methodology was shared at all. So that's like an important part of the process in science, is the whole notion of peer review and being able to reproduce results and if you can't even do that like in the slightest for any group, then it follows that by definition what you have is not science.
SOURCE [42:05] The Importance of Scientific Transparency and Reproducibility - https://www.enago.com/academy/the-importance-of-scientific-transparency-and-reproducibility/
SQEAKY: I would entirely agree with that. Before we get to whether or not a thing can be replicated --replacability---
SQEAKY: There's falsifiability, right?
SQEAKY: And I actually put that one in the notes, sometimes it's called testability. But are you asking a question or does your piece of evidence answer a question that can actually in theo- in principle be answered yes or no? Right like what is the difference between- What is the difference to your question if you get different pieces of evidence?
SOURCE [42:30] Falsifiable is Philosophically Testable - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Falsifiability
SQEAKY: So gods, UFOs, and ghosts, often fail this test because people will say that the absence of the thing or the thing being there is evidence either way. So, let me come up with an example. For ghosts: If you've ever seen candles flicker and people try to explain that oh, that's definitely ghosts and then you go and show that it's a draft from, y'know, a window being open or something.
MAKO: Yeah just point the window a lil- one room over.
SQEAKY: Well that doesn't disconfirm the ghost theory, which is fine, right? But there's no good way to formulate this candle flickering experiment that confirms it's a ghost because it could always be a draft and you have to very carefully constrain this and you have to come up with some question that actually definitely rules in or out ghosts until you get to that data or get tons of data points that ghosts best and most easily explain. And if you're not actually trying to approach these questions honestly you won't get to real data. That's not the best example of an unfalsifiable thing.
MAKO: Yeah I was thinking about it while you were describing it and I'm like actually there are ways you can contort all of this.
SQEAKY: Yeah you can make good questions to investigate ghosts. Okay here's a great- A lot of those ghost hunter shows?
SQEAKY: They'll just bring like a EVP meter, which are... actual tools engineers use for other things. They're not called EVP meters but they're used for measuring electrical fields or whatever. And they'll just wave them around and point them in the air, and whether or not they get a blip, whether or not they know how to use the tool, if the tool responds it is a clue that ghosts are coming. Or astrology is another one that's very unfalsifiable. You make all your claims super broad. If you're the astrologer if you're like writing the horoscopes-
SQEAKY: -you just make your claims super broad. Like if you say well "You're a good person. You will meet someone today." Okay well that's not really falsifiable or testable unless you literally meet someone. Probably the worst example of this is on God and I wanted to go there last 'cause I keep falling to this argument with people where I'm like give me evidence of God and they're like "You're evidence of God!" What, my existence? Like yeah, okay. How am I evidence for your god and not some other god? And what would the universe look like without God? Would it be any different? Like well you wouldn't exist. Well, I have another cohesive theory that works well without a god. It involves a big bang, it involves abiogenesis, it involves evolution and I can get here without a god. So, I can make a universe that looks an awful lot like this one without God, so your assertion that I wouldn't exist without God doesn't match the evidence. And that puts your original conjecture, the fact that the universe exists as evidence into this unfalsifiable place, 'cause it just isn't cohesive it doesn't start off intelligent.
MAKO: Well, the more intelligent people that make those arguments will then move to the first mover notion.
SQEAKY: That does happen. Oh I long for the days when the dysevidentia crowd was smarter.
SQEAKY: Why don't we provide some examples of things that are definitely falsifiable?
SQEAKY: I dunno, if we want to check if we're improving let's say our car. Let's say we're trying to upgrade our car and make it go faster, right?
SQEAKY: If you have two parts --two different mufflers-- and you're trying to increase airflow and horsepower. You can ask "Will this muffler improve performance?" If I get a higher number when I test for horsepower I've improved performance. So you go and you measure something. Perhaps as simple as seeing how fast you can drive some predetermined distance. And if you do it faster going as fast as the car can go. Y'know, you do it a few times and you get the average of with the new muffler, without the new muffler, then you can falsify your assertion that the new muffler is better. Really easy. I mean, in principle. It still takes a lot of effort swapping the mufflers and writing down all the data, but the thinking part isn't that hard.
MAKO: Mhm. I was gonna go even simpler than that.
SQEAKY: Go. Let's just concoct examples of falsifiability. Oh you're holding a computer heatsink.
MAKO: I was gonna say "I'm holding a boat" but that's readily falsifiable because this is very obviously a heatsink.
SQEAKY: I can look at your hand and see whether or not it is a boat.
MAKO: This is not going to be buoyant at all. It has no displacement. Oh-
SQEAKY: It's pretty dirty. We could put it in some water and see what happens.
MAKO: I mean... It would probably make it cleaner, yes.
SQEAKY: Okay. Earlier while you were talking I went over to the bookshelf.
SQEAKY: I was looking for a book that I remember as a small child that was just all about UFOs and stuff and it was just like- It was made to look like newspaper clippings and...
SQEAKY: ...all kinds of stuff. But it was all about aliens and close encounters and really dramatic stuff. And looking back on it... None of it cited sources, all of the pictures were these grainy black and white things, the stories were- they ranged from implausible to impossible. I didn't find it. But I did find my old second edition monster manual so I'm gonna pull up ghosts right now.
*Audible page flipping*
SQEAKY: How many giants do we need?
SQEAKY: Yeah it's got one page for ghost. Special defenses see below. Ah shit, I'm not reading all of this.
SQEAKY: This is dreadfully uninteresting, but according to all of this, all ghosts are evil and follow the law. So okay, that's interesting. That's a falsifiable claim.
*Page flipping continues*
SQEAKY: If we just find a ghost and see if we can make it shoplift that would disprove this book's theory of ghosts.
SQEAKY: But y'know that would involve finding a ghost and making them pick something up which would be pretty miraculous in the first place.
MAKO: So, while you were doing that I thought of two more examples of falsifiab- falsifiability, and okay, in theory there is a threshold where a certain amount of technological advancement and effort in resources can make these things falsifiable, but-
SQEAKY: So they're falsifiable in theory but maybe not in practice.
MAKO: Definitely not in practice.
SQEAKY: 'Cause there's another really good one. I'll go into the precession of mercury later, but yeah.
MAKO: Ah, well, the first one I was gonna say is Russell's Teapot.
SOURCE [47:41] Russel’s Teapot has its own website, it is simple and great - http://russellsteapot.net/
SQEAKY: Oh! So the idea that a teapot is orbiting Mars and we just need to go find it.
MAKO: Yeah. Like, prove to me that there isn't a teapot orbiting Mars.
SQEAKY: That's part of why people often say that proving a negative is a very difficult.
SQEAKY: 'Cause it can be. 'Cause in order to disprove that I would need like, an array of satellites orbiting Mars scanning all of the space around Mars-
MAKO: For an extended period of time.
SQEAKY: Someone's gonna leave a comment and let me know that I got Russel's Teapot wrong, it was probably around Pluto or around the asteroid belt or something.
MAKO: Well I've heard it actually be referenced in different locations. The one- The first one I heard was actually in orbit between Mars and Earth.
SQEAKY: Okay yeah, same principle though.
SQEAKY: It is in theory falsifiable. All we need is an array of millions of satellites scanning all the space.
MAKO: Constantly looking for disruptions and then investigating each one to see if it's a teapot.
SQEAKY: Okay. So theoretically falsifiable, in practice not.
MAKO: And then one for UFOs. One of the first major or mainstream- Not UFO encounters but like abduction encounters I think the names- and I'm going off of memory here so I might be messing a few things up, but I believe it was from Henry and a Betty Hill from the 1960s or maybe the 50s...
SOURCE [48:55] Early Abduction Story From the Hills - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barney_and_Betty_Hill
MAKO: And allegedly they got abducted and they actually communicated with the aliens. They asked where they were from. Allegedly they were shown star charts, they had no way of comprehending the star charts so then they were just- the star charts were discarded and they moved on with the abduction. And then later --again, allegedly-- they saw some star charts from some other source, I think it was like a magazine or something, and they were like 'Oh my god, that looks very familiar!' and they from that other image they determined that the origin that was being indicated by the aliens was Zeta Reticuli.
SQEAKY: Okay I'm googling this.
*Audible typing starts*
SQEAKY: This is some random star? What was significant about it?
MAKO: I have no idea. I didn't really go down that specific rabbit hole too closely. So from this, a UFOologist might say "Prove to me that there are no aliens at Zeta Reticuli.
SQEAKY: Yeah, in theory that's falsifiable, but it requires an array of satellites, interstellar travel...
SQEAKY: All other kinds of stuff.
SQEAKY: Zeta Reticuli is actually strangely plausible. It's only thirty-nine light year- thirty-nine light years away?
SQEAKY: So I mean if you're gonna travel interstellar distances... y'know, this one might only take a couple lifetimes.
MAKO: I believe it's... correct me if I'm wrong, but I think it's also a main sequence star or close to?
SQEAKY: It's actually a binary star but maybe one of them is main sequence.
SQEAKY: Wow! It's actually a pair of orbiting main sequence stars.
SQEAKY: That's pretty cool.
MAKO: Yeah. So there's a lot of small details where it's like okay maybe.
SQEAKY: But this still doesn't prove anything.
SQEAKY: They could have googled- or not googled, not in the 60s, but they could have done a little bit of astronomical reading and found a suitable star 'cause this is one of the brightest things, or one of the brighter things in the night sky. You can see it with the naked eye pretty easily.
SQEAKY: Y'know, and they do a little bit of research and they find this close thing are like 'Yeah, the aliens are from here.' It's still far enough away that yeah, fight me, disprove me, do it.
SQEAKY: It's not an easy proposition, so in practice this isn't a falsifiable claim.
SQEAKY: So, my opinion on falsifiable claims is we can generally disregard them 'cause let's say it is true or false, well you can't test that claim so it doesn't matter if it's true or false. If you could test it, it could matter.
SQEAKY: Figure it out.
MAKO: It doesn't say anything concrete, so it's... it's largely useless and it's definitely a better use of your time and effort to focus on things that can be proven.
SQEAKY: So another thing that comes up a lot. The afterlife. Just yesterday I had someone saying that I would be regretting the day that I ignored that these were the endtimes.
MAKO: Oh, fun.
SQEAKY: Heavily implying I would be dying and going to some afterlife or staying here on Earth.
MAKO: Did you tell them "Okay doomer"?
SQEAKY: Okay doomer?
SQEAKY: Oh that's good. Oh... No I didn't. I was just like 'Got any evidence bro?' And that's my default goto response for all of these people making these claims then they always claim "Well you're evidence that God exists" and I'm like you're right, I'm convinced, all hail Allah or whatever other god isn't their god and I try to make the mental connection to 'no no, my god'. That argument usually ends with them just being very frustrated with me.
MAKO: Yes, I could see that.
SQEAKY: Yeah, I have a lot of practice at this, they don't get it.
MAKO: You... God... To quote Steve "You bring them down to your level and beat them with experience."
SQEAKY: Yes. So some other things that are uh... unfalsifiable. A common one I hear is Last Thursdayism.
SOURCE [52:10] Last Thursdayism - https://rationalwiki.org/wiki/Last_Thursdayism
MAKO: Oh god...
SQEAKY: This is just a thought experiment, right?
MAKO: You deployed this one on me before.
SQEAKY: Yeah, just imagine if the universe was created last Thursday and whoever or whatever was creating it put into position all of the necessary evidence to make it have the appearance of age.
MAKO: Yeah and planted memories and everything as well.
SQEAKY: Yeah, and the light that's travelling between stars? Just position the photons where they need to be and to simplify this: imagine you've played a video game and you save your game, right? if the game's good, right, so not like have like shitty savepoints or whatever but if the game's good, it restores everything to exactly how it was before the save after you load up your save again so there's no difference. The game instantiates- it creates a new instance of the game world with all of the experience and age that existed before you saved and turned your game off. Like Minecraft, or you pick your RPG of choice or y'know... Fuckin' any game with a save pretty much. You load it up, you're good to go. It was created right now, but it has the appearance of all of the age it had before. There's no way to prove that our universe wasn't created in this manner last Thursday.
SQEAKY: But it's not worth thinking about 'cause if there's no way to prove it then there's no way it'll impact my life.
SQEAKY: I mean it's worth thinking about as a thought experiment I guess, but-
MAKO: If you want to go crazier, yeah.
SQEAKY: Well it... I think it helps when people start talking about like various creation myths like you know, Genesis or... I dunno, people don't bring up too many other creation myths nowadays.
SQEAKY: If the universe were created through some of these ways, would there or wouldn't there be an appearance of age? And does it line up with what we actually see? Last Thursday is postulates perfect creation of the universe with the appearance of age, but do most religious accounts?
SQEAKY: The Bible- Most Christians are now saying that Genesis was metaphorical.
MAKO: Oh great.
SQEAKY: Well they are.
MAKO: I haven't heard that before.
SQEAKY: Well there's a really good video, I'll link to it. But I got it from Dragan uh... one of the followers and I believe listeners of the podcast from LinkedIn. But this video talks about how so much of the Bible is contradictory and allegorical 'cause Genesis one and two contradict each other they just swap orders of events and this preacher's thought process was either God is wrong and the whole thing is BS, or God didn't mean for you to take this literally. So since he's a preacher and he had the apriori presumption that, y'know, God was right when he, y'know, passed this book down-
SOURCE [54:20] Joel Baden on the metaphor and contradictions in the bible - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XS7LgbMr1m4
SQEAKY: -that uh... we weren't supposed to take this entirely literally. And when we look at what Genesis says, the God created the universe in so many days and there were certain things we expect from that, we don't see that. We don't see a universe that's just a few thousand years old. Doesn't say anywhere that God created the illusion of age, so, what can we actually infer? What can we deduce from this? Well maybe God just wanted to impart certain kinds of knowledge on us and say that he did create the universe, and that's the allegory. Bah, whatever, I'll link to this.
SQEAKY: It's actually interesting to see people contort their religion to get it back to being a solvent-
SQEAKY: -an intellectually solvent not intellectually bankrupt...
SQEAKY: I don't know.
MAKO: I was gonna say even though it landed on something that is a bit anti-intellectual, it is kinda refreshing to hear that at least a little bit of critical thinking was exercised there.
SQEAKY: I suppose so.
SQEAKY: But it's a... it's a good twenty minute video, and I really enjoyed it because it shows how a lot of people are coming to terms with the fact that science simply contradicts a literal view of the Bible.
SQEAKY: But a problem with moving away from the literal view is you now make the Bible unfalsifiable. If your claim is that the Bible is a user manual for life or something equally trite, well then you're gonna start with that presumption, then you're gonna go to the Bible and find some piece of wisdom that may or may not work for you and then use it as opposed to trying to take each claim in the Bible and assessing whether it's valid or invalid in it's own right which would be the more appropriate way to deal with this. 'Cause there's gotta be some true stuff in there, it's a thick book. If they were just guessing there would still be some correct things.
MAKO: A broken clock is correct two times a day.
SQEAKY: I'm being so much more brutal to religion than I meant to be. Well, yeah, broken clock's right twice a day, so yeah.
SQEAKY: Sometimes religion puts valid things out there and those claims should be addressed on their own merit. You can't just say everything religion said is false because there are basic things in there like at some point you can distill some of what Jesus said down to treat others how you want to be treated; that's pretty good.
SQEAKY: That's- It is an ethical claim so it's not a hard scientific claim but that can be judged on its own merit. And then other things like various prophecies, they are pretty bogus.
SQEAKY: There were several times where people read from the Bible and claimed doomsday was upon us.
MAKO: We had an episode segment on exactly that: doomsdays.
SQEAKY: Oh my god, we did. Well I guess I'm gonna have to find that during editing and put a link to it in the show notes 'cause yeah, it seems to be about once a year that people claim doomsday is this year.
SOURCE [56:39] We discussed Doom speakers (Doomers) in Episode 0003 - Deep Space Deep Dive - https://dysevidentia.transistor.fm/episodes/deep-space-deep-dive
MAKO: And they are always, so far, wrong.
SQEAKY: Yeah. But just by virtue of guessing, eventually when we do have a doomsday, they'll be right.
MAKO: I suppose if they keep at it, then... and everything keeps on persisting for as long as possible then uh yeah, maybe the Great Rip or the Universal Heat Death or whatever else. They're gonna be saying oh yeah, this is doomsday and then finally they'll be right.
SQEAKY: Oh you know we said we're gonna discuss UFOs here, we didn't go too far into that.
MAKO: Mmm, a little bit. We can go do some more on UFOs.
SQEAKY: One thing I really like about UFOs is that it's actually a somewhat complex topic.
MAKO: Oh yes.
SQEAKY: Ghosts, you can kinda discard out of hand, 'cause it's like 'Souls come out of people' and you're like cool where's the soul in the person in the first place. Doesn't exist. So y- the whole idea is just a non-starter. Religion. Well, everyone's got a different religion and it doesn't really seem to impact the quality of their decisions. They make good decisions or bad decisions based on reality, just like everybody else. Okay we can discard religion out of hand. Take whatever claims we want from it and try to make the best of them. But then UFOs are just like... y'know the claims are like, some of the unidentified flying objects that we see are from other planets or other worlds or involve people not from Earth. And that claim, it isn't a non-starter; you can get somewhere with that.
SQEAKY: Right, it is theoretically possible that life happened somewhere else.
SQEAKY: Whether you're religious or irreligious there could be other peoples.
MAKO: Given what we know about the formation of life on Earth and the availability of various amino acids and just the sheer scale of the universe, it seems like a statistically certainty-
MAKO: -that there'd be other life out there.
SQEAKY: I'm just going to throw numbers out there. But let's just say that for any given planet or on any given star, there's a one-in-a-trillion chance life forms there.
MAKO: Oh, you're going to go through the Drake equation?
SOURCE [58:17] Drake Equation calculator - https://calculator.academy/drake-equation-calculator/
SOURCE [58:17] Science And Futurism with Isaac Arthur on the Drake Equation - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhPQRZJAbe0
SQEAKY: Probab- Very abbreviated.
SQEAKY: Just the fact that we have so many trillions of stars. We have trillions upon trillions and trillions times trillions. Like each galaxy a few million, and there are many many millions of galaxies.
SOURCE [58:30] How many stars? - https://www.esa.int/Science_Exploration/Space_Science/Herschel/How_many_stars_are_there_in_the_Universe
SQEAKY: If there's a one in a trillion chance that there's life on any given planet, well there's gonna be more life out there.
MAKO: A lot of it in fact.
SQEAKY: Yah! Just the various ways I've heard to count it. There are more stars in our galaxy than there are grains of sand on a beach.
SQEAKY: And you ask which beach and the astronomers retort back "How about your biggest beach? Start there."
SQEAKY: Oh you're pretty confident Mr. Astronomer? Let's look at numbers. And then you look at the numbers and like the exponents are wrong and you're like oh, that's what you said numbers of grains of sand on a beach, you could have said atoms, oh. It's usually not that extreme that you could actually use atoms but the amount of stars is improbable. It's just very hard to communicate the scale of the universe. But then, the logic starts getting fuzzier. 'Cause yeah there almost certainly is life out there.
SQEAKY: God, we are just running through the Drake equation.
MAKO: Yeah we are.
SQEAKY: 'Cause then we have to ask how much of that life can leave the planet it's on and get to us.
MAKO: Yeah, get to the technological advancement necessary to leave the gravity well.
SQEAKY: Yeah and that gets harder. That's less of a non-starter because we can barely do it.
SQEAKY: Right? We don't have any examples of people more advanced than us yet. We might some day.
SQEAKY: We know how to get out of our gravity well. We can just- We've seen it, we have evidence for how to do it, we could design a ship that travels between the stars with modern technology, we could.
MAKO: Yeah. That has its own technological hurdles but it is technologically possible, yes.
SQEAKY: I would argue just engineering hurdles. Without having to do any new fundamental research, new material science, anything like that. We could use modern materials and modern methods. We'd have to put them together different, maybe need to make some new 3D printers for certain materials, something, right?
SQEAKY: We don't need to find some new material, we don't need to- How do I articulate the difference between science and engineering? How do we apply what we know to our current problem versus how do we learn a new thing that no human knows. That's what I'm getting at. We just need to apply what humans already know and we could build a ship to another star.
MAKO: The way I've heard that phrased before is that it's not a theory problem, it's an engineering problem.
SQEAKY: Yeah! That's a great way to phrase it, and I hope our listeners picked up on this distinction 'cause it's subtle for people that have heard it for the first time. It's not always easy to parse out.
SQEAKY: How about this: If you wanted to build a car, you don't need new science for it, but you might need to learn how to do some engineering. But if you wanted to build a... if you want to build a teleporter, you're gonna need some new science for that. Nobody knows how to do anything like that yet.
SQEAKY: Maybe it's possible, maybe it's not, but we certainly don't know how to do it right now so you need to go step one, start with research into the foundations of how teleporting might work.
SQEAKY: So this is where UFOs start to get really dodgy because the closest stars are four or five light years away and what is a light year? Anybody already familiar with science knows it's how far light travels in one year. Light isn't instantaneous. We're about what, six seven eight light minutes away from the sun?
MAKO: Uh, depending on where we are in our orbit.
MAKO: The common answer is eight.
SQEAKY: Okay and, the moon is about one light second from the Earth? It takes about-
MAKO: Roughly, yeah.
SQEAKY: -one point one seconds for light to reach the moon.
SQEAKY: Pluto is some like a light month out away from the sun or something like that. Light weeks, light months.
SQEAKY: You're gonna google it?
MAKO: I'm gonna- You have me curious now.
SQEAKY: I'm gonna- I'm gonna guess that it's ninety light days from the sun.
MAKO: Uhh, not quite.
SQEAKY: How wrong was I?
MAKO: Uhh... Google is claiming that Pluto is around two-hundred-and-sixty-three-point-two light minutes away.
SOURCE [1:01:31] Pluto distance from Sun, 5,906,376,272 km is 328.35 light minutes- https://www.universetoday.com/44534/plutos-distance-from-the-sun/
SQEAKY: Oh, good good good. So I'm just way off on the scale here.
MAKO: Yeah so that's a little over four hours I think?
SQEAKY: So four light hours, okay. Can you double check the distance to Proxima Centauri, the closest star to Earth?
MAKO: Like light years.
SQEAKY: Yeah. I'm pretty sure it's just gonna be four-point-two light year to Proxima Centauri.
SQEAKY: Okay good. That one was- I just had memorized. I wanted to make sure I wasn't crazy there.
SQEAKY: Okay. In order to travel those distances... Pluto is four light hours away and it took some of our rockets like New Horizons months and months- That's probably why I was thinking months and months. We did not send a rocket a third the speed of light towards this thing. It took New Horizons like twenty-four months to get there.
SQEAKY: Maybe less, maybe more. But still, months. If aliens are coming from another planet, it's gonna take them years and years to do it. Doesn't rule it out, it could totally happen, in theory.
MAKO: You could have generational ships, long-lived aliens, or there could be some way to crack FTL that we just don't know.
SQEAKY: So that brings up this question: a lot of people go straight to FTL because it's really easy to write into a story, and all of us have heard stories that involve faster-than-light travel. I mean who hasn't watched or read something related to Star Wars or Star Trek? Both of them have trivial faster-than-light travel. That's what Mako means when he says FTL.
SQEAKY: The problem with that is that as far as the science is concerned, right now FTL looks to be impossible. We can't just categorically say it is. This isn't just like the speed of sound. Some of our older listeners might remember back when Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier and everyone was like "That's impossible, no one can go faster than the speed of sound." Those were engineering limits. Planes couldn't be built to go faster than the speed of sound because the sonic boom really stressed a plane. We got better materials, we built planes better, we learned how to deflect away some of the forces, we built planes that went faster than sound.
SQEAKY: It's also less than one percent the speed of light, like a lot less.
SOURCE [1:03:17] A few interesting speed, Light travels at mach 880,979.64 - https://newsjett.com/how-fast-is-the-speed-of-light-in-mach/
SQEAKY: Percents don't even... gather it. It's like one percent of one percent the speed of light. And as you go faster, you need more and more energy to keep going faster. Now I don't mean that just it takes more energy to accelerate, 'cause it does, but as you go faster and faster you get heavier. Like, your mass changes. At speeds we're used to seeing and understanding this is insignificant.
MAKO: So this might be a little bit too nuanced but minor correction is: It's a little bit of a misnomer to say that you get heavier...
SQEAKY: That's true.
MAKO: ...your mass does change. That is absolutely accurate. But mass as a function of the total energy in the system is the more accurate way to describe that.
SQEAKY: For the purpose of the math, you do wind up getting- Yeah. Physicists go ahead and correct us. There's so many level of details we can pick on here. I'm going to stick with the more simplified version, just: If you're shooti- If you're using fuel to go faster-
SQEAKY: -or even like a laser to push you. So, if you're using some normal physics-based system that we understand to push you, you get heavier and heavier as you approach the speed of light so you need more and more energy. And in order to hit that speed of light, all of the math right now says that you need an infinite amount of energy because you will be infinitely massive. So yeah, that's totally a simplification and you're totally right, that from your own perspective your own weight doesn't change, but other things give to make that work. Either time gives or your perception of time from the outside, or the amount of fuel you're consuming... These other things all give before you crack the speed of light. So this isn't an engineering problem, this is a fundamental science problem.
SQEAKY: And I've got an article from futurism.com that I linked with a whole bunch of cool theoretical ways to travel that fast. They talk about like, nuclear bomb propulsion, rockets, uh... the fastest one they had was a solar light sail. It doesn't crack the speed of light- actually they do have one theoretical warp drive but-
SOURCE [1:05:01] Time to travel to nearby stars with real tech - https://futurism.com/long-take-travel-nearest-star
MAKO: You need exotic matter to make the warp drive work.
SQEAKY: Yeah you need negative mass. You need- whatever this stuff is, if you could make a cookie out of it, you could put it in a cookie jar and have negative one cookies. Fix that problem first.
SQEAKY: There's negative one cookies in this jar. What does that even look like? What would that mean? So a lot of scientists think that thing can't be done. Now scientists could be wrong-
SQEAKY: -but uh, the fastest one that we can in theory do without discovering this exotic matter is a light sail. And it's a whole bunch of cheating! You take a really small light object, but a really big mylar or other thin film sticking off of it, such that you capture light. And then here on Earth or maybe a satellite near Earth, we put up a big laser and shoot the uh, sail, and the light pushes it. And this starts off really slow. But the fact that you get to push the thing for years and years lets you constantly add to the speed. So you can get up to, y'know, half the speed of light or something really impressive with this. You don't get to slow down on the other end. Nothing y- In space, there's no friction, there's no air resistance or anything so you'd have to do something to slow down, like maybe bring a really big rocket and fire the rocket in the other direction when you get there. The trip could be done, and we came on this tangent to discuss UFOs.
SQEAKY: So theoretically, all of these things could happen. Right, and then UFOs could get here. But then we have to start asking why are they here when they have all these cool technologies they could do all other kinds of things with. If they do have FTL like why do we ever see them in the first place? They can manipulate all kinds of things. They could presumably manipulate time.
MAKO: Presumably. The- One really lame excuse that I've thrown out there before to try and explain that is what if this technology is something that is so readily available that we're encountering the irresponsible Joe Schmoe of this civilization.
SQEAKY: He was like on his way to work and he crash landed at Roswell?
MAKO: Something like that, yeah.
SQEAKY: Heh! Okay, yeah. That is surprisingly plausible I guess in this range of very implausible things.
MAKO: Just more thought experiments.
MAKO: But still non-falsifiable. Like, we can't prove any of this either way.
SQEAKY: Well, looking at how implausible this is, because we just built up how hard it would be, right?
MAKO: Oh yeah.
SQEAKY: Like we're talking about building giant infrastructure that's shooting a laser, y'know, four light years and then having another big thing over- That's the fastest way we can get from here to there and it still involves a four year one way trip? Wow. Okay, all of that versus "Man cities are really windy sometimes, That balloon is really whippin' back and forth and it's really blurry at this distance, maybe it's a balloon."
SQEAKY: God, I keep citing these guys but Cognitive Dissonance actually had this problem. They're in Chicago, and one of them recounted a story where one of 'em was just walking down the street screwing around on his phone answering an email, and someone said "Hey, what's that?" and this random person on the street points up at the sky and it's whipping back and forth, it's unidentifiable, they're like what is this thing and somebody else just walking by says looks up says "Oh, it's just a balloon" and walks home like it's nothing. And what else do you expect from the Windy City?
SOURCE [1:07:45] Cognitive Dissonance Podcast, one of episodes 588~589 has their bag anecdote - https://dissonancepod.com/
SQEAKY: It's just a silly anecdote from-
SQEAKY: -this balloon flying around.
MAKO: We have transitioned from uh... talking about the falsifiability of high-level claims to debunking individual claims.
SQEAKY: Yeah sorry, that wasn't- That was a very poor transition. I was just trying to highlight that so many of these things people like to leap to this improbable, high-level claim, this claim that these are extraterrestrials, and when you invoke that you bring along all this baggage that Mako and I just discussed about distances and time-
SQEAKY: -when most of the time a much simpler explanation is available. And sometimes the explanations are still pretty fantiful and more plausible. What if it was a foreign spy drone? Right, that's plausible.
SQEAKY: Could be a thing. What if it was some other weird phenomena? What if it was a cloudy night and there was one little hole in the clouds and you saw the moon through it?
MAKO: I've heard... It's another one of those things I haven't really followed through with myself but I've heard that a lot of the early triangular UFO reports that people made decades ago were actually test flights of the F-117.
SOURCE [1:08:51] The F-117 is very triangular, and there is USA Flag paint job on one - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lockheed_F-117_Nighthawk
SQEAKY: That's unreasonably plausible, yeah.
SQEAKY: For people not familiar with model names on airplanes, the F-117 was the stealth fighter. Back in the 90s we used it a whole bunch in the Golf War the first time we invaded Iraq. It has this weird stealth reflecting shape and it's made of a bunch of a polygons and it looks kind of like a flying triangle. And the test models were all painted this like bright grey for reasons, and the production models were all painted black for other reasons.
SQEAKY: Like you want to see a test plane, you don't want to see the real plane in operation so you paint it black and fly it at night. Well if you see a white triangle flying around at night, you might be seeing the test version of this thing. And it was really goofy looking.
MAKO: Well, not exclusively white but just depending on the lighting and cloud cover and just the stars that are out, you can make out a triangular shape in some of those situations and you're just like oh well I don't know anything that's like that, because I mean if this is a test flight before the F-117 went public, well you literally do have an unidentified flying object.
SQEAKY: Totally! And that's actually a really cool story still. It's like 'Oh I saw a classified military plane before it came out.'
SQEAKY: That's a hard sell to your friends anyway, right?
SQEAKY: Your buddies at the pub will barely believe that 'cause that stretches credulity already. But at least that doesn't involve new physics, doesn't involve life forms we've never met, doesn't involve travelling across the stars and not being seen by us to get here, doesn't involve what their ship is actually doing.
SQEAKY: So on this, there's a science and futurism with Isaac Arthur. He runs this great channel where he discusses the limits of what modern engineering can do. And he commonly talks about like these big grandiose like planet-scale and star-scale projects and a bunch of his listeners voted in a poll to make him discuss aliens and UFOs. So he went and got from the middle of last year, three videos that the Navy released. And in these three videos there's three different UFOs and they're unidentified, they're flying, and they're objects. There's various reasons to believe that each of these things is weird and implausible. In one of 'em, there's like this halo of cold and it's from a... an infrared camera so it looks like it's giving off a cold aura, which is pretty magical by our standards.
SOURCE [1:10:56] Isaac Arthur on UFOs - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXYYSWG04gw
SQEAKY: Anything giving off cold like that night needs to be absorbing heat somewhere and that's weird that it wasn't. Another one of the objects was super small and travelling at what appeared to be three or four times the speed of sound and making weird abrupt turns. Well it was the angle of it against the water and the plane taking a picture of it and wind. That one was literally a weather balloon and we launch, y'know, a few thousand of these every single day to track the weather. That's how your weather reports are so accurate: satellites and those. And the angle the plane was flying at creating this perspective issue where against the ground, it looked like the thing was travelling many times the speed of sound, but if you get alongside it you're like oh, it's travelling at exactly wind speed which is bad perspective. And all of these had problems like that, so, you can check out his video. He goes into it and he's very impartial on it, he doesn't go out to debunk. He doesn't even make the hard firm claim that this was definitely a weather balloon.
MAKO: He's surprisingly gentle about all of it.
SQEAKY: Yeah. Did you overheard?
SQEAKY: He's not big into the debunking and the harsh realities. We go there and he doesn't. 'Cause I'll just- I'll assert that was- that was not an extraterrestrial vehicle. It just wasn't.
SQEAKY: We just know how fast it was going, we have good evidence, and we have no evidence that extraterrestrials actually showed up here. It wouldn't be that hard to have some kind of evidence. It is super difficult to track everything on a planet and defeat every radar system and every camera system, so if even one percent of UFO claims were real, we'd have something firm.
SQEAKY: Do you disagree with that logic?
MAKO: I don't know. There is room where like we could kinda go a little back forth on that, 'cause- So there is something to be said about like Project Blue Book for example.
*Sqeaky exhales loudly*
SOURCE [1:12:30] Government Archives on Project BLUE BOOK - https://www.archives.gov/research/military/air-force/ufos
MAKO: And they-
SQEAKY: That's- That's a loaded term. For the listener, Project Blue Book was an Air Force aggregation for a whole bunch of unidentified flying object sightings, and the Air Force put forward their best explanation for a bunch of them.
SQEAKY: Most of them were good, some of them were very very bad.
MAKO: Yeah. But the thing I was going for there is that as much as they did thoroughly explain and rationalize a really good chunk of them, there's some that they didn't. So, people that are wanting to believe in UFOs would probably say that yeah, that stuff does exist and skeptics are trying to refute it constantly. And tha- And that's of course presuming that the really good evidence is stuff that is widely known by the public and not discredited through some other means by some group... I don't know. There's a lot of twisting that can go on there. It still all comes back to, at least from our perspective, non falsifiability. We couldn't really prove it either way.
SQEAKY: Yeah. If somebody shows up with a photo and like "Here's a UFO, it proves the existence of UFOs." Cool. Who else saw it, when did it happen, how can we take another picture of it... It's not repeatable. And because we only have this one photo, right, there's no good way to say yes or no this was a UFO. I mean, we can try to go back and request radar records from nearby airports and stuff, but if part of the assertion is oh they're invisible because they have radar immunity for whatever high-tech super science alien reasons, there's no good way to get evidence on it. This photo and the claim attached to it aren't falsifiable because it's a one time event, it's not reproducible, well then we have to default to really weak forms of evidence. Either we take this persons' testimony which is never great, or we look at the larger body of evidence which isn't ideal either but at least we can look back and say yeah, the other times we had stories like this? Sixty percent of 'em have been hoaxes, or something. I don't know what that exact percentage is but there's a lot of UFO hoaxes and a lot of 'em are just demonstrated to be hoaxes.
SQEAKY: So which ones more plausible? That this guy is mistaken, is hoaxing, or this random smudge on a photo is actually life from another planet? Smudges happen. I've taken pictures with smudges and not realized what the thing was. It happens.
SQEAKY: Usually not even outside, I mean, I'm a software developer, the outside world scares and frightens, so I just live in the basement all day.
SQEAKY: Mako's giving me side eyes. He's like no you don't, you bike. Not during the pandemic.
MAKO: Yes, you have previously biked, yes.
SQEAKY: I kinda wanna try to take pictures of paintballs. I bet paintballs would make really good UFOs.
MAKO: If you get the lighting, angle, all that stuff right, yeah I think so.
SQEAKY: Yeah. 'specially since some of them come in weird colors, weird patterns, right? You get that smudged at just the right angle, get some really nice camera but set the shutter speed up just a little bit uh... make the shutter speed a little bit slow so the object blurs just right. Create some plausible deniability, and we don't edit the photos at all so there won't be any artifacts from editing, there won't be any of that stuff. We could make photos pretty easily. And that too. How easy it is for people to fake the stuff.
SQEAKY: In the absence of evidence it's really hard to prove things. We can't categorically rule out ghosts, gods, or UFOs, but uh, we could in theory rule them in, and we haven't yet.
SQEAKY: I hope that one day we do rule in extraterrestrial life. The math says that it's out there somewhere.
MAKO: But whether or not they can get here is-
SQEAKY: Or we can get there. I'm tryna be an optimist.
SQEAKY: Hopefully we won't just kill ourselves with climate change or guns or any of the other topics from our previous episodes.
SQEAKY: Is our episode list just a list of humanity's mistakes?
MAKO: I would prefer not to think of it that way.
SQEAKY: One of our topics was Rush Limbaugh.
SQEAKY: So we'll just be sure to include the secret episode-
MAKO: Secret code in the episode.
SQEAKY: I"m gonna just erase that junk.
SQEAKY: So we'll just be sure to include the secret episode-
SQEAKY: Thanks for listening and don't forget to like, subscribe, leave a review, or tell a friend.
MAKO: Thank you to all of our Patreon supporters. Our supporters at the Evidence Investigator level or higher include Jarod, DuktTape, Qeldaar, and Lazori78.
SQEAKY: And thanks to our sponsors. Need a computer? Go to abk-kustomz.com. A B K dash K U S T O M Z .com to speak to an expert. Give them code "evidence" for a ten percent discount on your next computer.
MAKO: Copyright 2021 BlackTopp Studios, Inc.
SQEAKY: Intro music was Slow by PitX. Used with permission.