12 million?


The Nashville suicide bomber may have had some peculiar motivations.

NBC News reported Wednesday that investigators have obtained evidence that Anthony Quinn Warner, who died in the explosion, may have subscribed to a conspiracy theory that many of the world’s most powerful figures, from Barack Obama to the late Bob Hope, are actually evil, lizard-like extraterrestrials in disguise. Officials told NBC News that investigators, who have been questioning friends and acquaintances and searching for clues of a possible motive for the bombing, have become aware of statements Warner made about the lizard people conspiracy theory — though it wasn’t immediately clear what those statements were. Authorities also reported that Warner made statements to others about hunting possible aliens during previous camping trips he took in his RV.

The so-called lizard people conspiracy theory has taken a back seat to some of the newer and more widely publicized baseless beliefs that have come to dominate the conspiracy landscape in recent years. But in 2013, a survey conducted by Public Policy Polling found that 12 million Americans believed that the country was run by lizard people in suits.

I’m only going to believe in the lizard people if it turns out that there are 12 million of them, and they’re not the “world’s most powerful figures”. That’s a rumor contrived to distract us from who the lizard people really are.

Comments

  1. bodach says

    @Zoniedude: Salamanders are the juvenile form before they make their cocoons and come out as adults. Pretty obvious when you think about it.

  2. says

    I’ve been saying it for years now. These conspiracy theories are DANGEROUS. When the story initially broke on Christmas day, I guessed q-anon, but dude was actually targeting AT&T because of 5G. This is what happens when you underfund public education and social services for multiple generations. You end up in a country where 20% of the population is living in fantasy land and they have the money and resources to do real harm. This ignorance and lack of critical thinking skills is killing our people and our country.

  3. blf says

    So that’s why the nutter went to such trouble as to not kill anyone else — date, time-of-day, warning phone call, warning messages,… — to drive anyone around away and into the claws of the waiting Reptilians! Either to have a festive brunch, or to replace with a whole new batch of possessed world leaders…

  4. wzrd1 says

    Aren’t lounge lizards already well documented?

    More seriously, some of the reporting reminds me of a scene from Independence Day, of a local news crew interviewed some locals about Russell Casse’s alleged alien abduction. Complete with unnamed sources claiming Warner had “purchased components that could be used to make bombs”.
    The latter claim being so vague as to include PZ’s purchases to construct spider habitats quite easily filling the bill. That’s true for many, but nearly no one actually constructs a bomb.

  5. blf says

    @3, The 5G hypothesis is still just that (as far as publicly-released information goes) — a hypothesis. Please do not call it, or indeed any other hypothesis, a fact (e.g., “[they were] actually targeting AT&T because of 5G”) until there is reliable confirming evidence.

  6. hemidactylus says

    I don’t recall Icke being particularly right leaning (wasn’t he a Green at some point) and at this point run of the mill lizard linking not as off the chain as QAnon, but still a gateway drug. But lizard linking could lead people to take horrific action, even though the opportunity costs of wasting time on Youtube rabbit holes and clouding your head with guano speculation seems bad enough.

    On a related note I just started listening to this podcast recently:
    https://plasticpills.podbean.com/e/pill-pod-1-why-critical-theory-reading-bruno-latour/

    They talk about Latour’s “Why Has Critique Run out of Steam? From Matters of Fact to Matters of Concern” in this and another episode on conspiracy thinking. There is an oddish parallel between conspiracy thinking and Critical Theory, and though I don’t know that Latour was along the same trajectory as Frankfurt (more Foulcaldian or postmodern?) his reflection on critical methods being coopted by the wrong people are intriguing.

    There is an angle where the critique of the Culture Industry bogey may be taken too far. “They” are using media to implant ideas in our heads, manipulate, and exploit us. Not quite the everything and kitchen sink approach Icke uses and Frankfurters seem more grounded in the mundane plain, but just add some Baudrillard to the critique and you get closer to bad AI and red pilling.

  7. birgerjohansson says

    It would be nice if we find a document left behind by the bomber (not “terrorist” as he was a white male) where he explains exactly why he chose that target…. but I doubt we will find anything beyond some rambling, incoherent letter.

  8. says

    @6 blf
    Oh dear did I step on your toes? Are you anti 5G too?
    How is the 5G theory any less valid than the lizard people theory? You seemed to hop on that pretty quick @4.
    Also I saw what you did when you quoted me. You switched “dude” with “they”. Are you implying that it wasn’t the act of a single disturbed man named Anthony Warner?

  9. birgerjohansson says

    I suppose it was just a matter of time before someone based an ideology on the 1980’s TV series “V”.
    .
    Anyway, for more originality, I refer you to the Brit film where the PM blames unemployment on pixies and decides to create new job openings by letting volunteers jump off the white cliffs of Dover.

  10. birgerjohansson says

    I am not the first to claim Mitch McConnell may belong to a group of reptiles…

  11. slithey tove (twas brillig (stevem)) says

    re @3:
    The rumuor that COVID19 was caused by 5G seems to have faded.
    Possible that was part of the motivation to bomb AT&T.
    Popular “theory” in the far right wing is that AT&T hub was the data conduit to rig all the election machines being on the AT&T internet. (which I hear it is illegal for election machines to be connected to the internet).
    It is virtually impossible to understand all the motivations of a psychopath, and too easy to assign them at random.
    Carry on, nevermind me

  12. davidc1 says

    @10 What was this epic of the British Film Industry called ?
    Was it based on a TV series ?

  13. stroppy says

    Ray Ceeya @ 3

    “…a country where 20% of the population is living in fantasy land and they have the money and resources to do real harm.”

    You’re being generous at 20%. I think that’s low balling it.

    Seriously.

  14. blf says

    @9, I am not anti-5G†, I used singular “they” (trying to switch away from gender-specific terms (an edit I clearly marked)), and I do object to a hypothesis being referred to as-if it were a known fact. Your strawman about comparing the Reptilian hypothesis with the 5G hypothesis is noted. I did no such comparison, then or now. And to be clear, there are no such things as Reptilians: @4 is a joke !

    Stop evading @6’s point: With regardless to this specific terrorist act, the 5G hypothesis is not a “theory” (in the scientific sense), nor a confirmed fact. So please stop considering the 5G hypothesis as anything other than just that, a hypothesis. Obviously the 5G conspiracy is very much asking to be ridiculed, as is the Reptilian conspiracy.

      † There are legitimate concerns about 5G: Increased power consumption and GHG emissions (from new / expanded data centres, raw material mining (much of which is also not sustainable), etc.); increased E-waste (older phones (initially), etc.); and so on.

  15. PaulBC says

    blf@16 So what you’re saying is that 5G is a just cover by the lizard people for strip-mining the earth of mineral resources they’ve exhausted on their home planet. I knew it!

  16. unclefrogy says

    as I heard about this “bomber” and his life it sounds like he was seriously depressed at the least. he had worked for AT&T as a contractor i think seems as good as any reason to not like them very much.
    lizard people and q-anon have nothing new to offer either, If anyone has time and interest they might like to see the movie” The President’s Analyst (1967) to understand AT&T
    uncle frogy

  17. Pierce R. Butler says

    I’m only going to believe in the lizard people if it turns out that there are 12 million of them…

    How can we verify that with last year’s Census having deliberately skipped so many members of non-white minority groups?

  18. flange says

    I too, would like to welcome our Lizard Overlords (Ăśber Eidechse.)
    No one can prove you DON’T exist.

  19. Azkyroth, B*Cos[F(u)]==Y says

    @6 blf
    Oh dear did I step on your toes? Are you anti 5G too?
    How is the 5G theory any less valid than the lizard people theory? You seemed to hop on that pretty quick @4.
    Also I saw what you did when you quoted me. You switched “dude” with “they”. Are you implying that it wasn’t the act of a single disturbed man named Anthony Warner?

    What blf appears to be trying to say in the comment you’re responding to here, although I agree that it is remarkable how much he*’s typed in this thread without clearly and unambiguously saying it, is that the notion that this particular bomber committed this particular bombing with the AT&T building as the target and motivated by paranoia about 5G wireless, while highly plausible, is not at present positively supported by extensive concrete evidence, and should be discussed in appropriately provisional terms.

    *per my recollection

  20. blf says

    @17, grins…, yeah, sure, also explains why Reptilians only replace world leadersleeches (humanoid variety (apologies to the various Hirudinea))…

    @18, TPC !

  21. says

    Why are these folks so upset at Lizard People? I know lots of people who are lizard people. They are good people and fine biologists. Why be upset with them just because they are fascinated with catching, observing, rearing and studying lizards? They spend so much of their time doing that, that they have no time to run for office, or rule the world. On the other hand, a spider man …

  22. bcw bcw says

    @29. OK, time to come up with “Lizard People’s Lives Matter” flag. Well, actually we don’t need anything else trite to disrespect the BLM movement. Just fly the Blue-lives-matter sign upside down or something.

  23. hemidactylus says

    I knew the Geico Gecko was a mastermind all along. He’s just mocking us. And Jim Morrison.

    You know herpetology is just a step removed from herpes right? Pure evil.

    Oh wait “Hemidactylus”. Umm….nothing to see here.

  24. raven says

    To state the obvious.
    There wasn’t much point to this bombing.

    An action with a high personal cost (he is dead), that doesn’t accomplish much, and with unclear motives that don’t mean anything to normal people.

  25. Bruce says

    Four out of five Trump voters do NOT believe in lizard people aliens.
    But will we maintain this high standard in 2021?

  26. says

    I’m okay with lizards, as long as they’re human. What bothers me are the homo sapiens who aren’t human. They’re the ones fucking everything up and we really need to get better at spotting them before they get elected.

  27. John Morales says

    LykeX:

    What bothers me are the homo sapiens who aren’t human.

    What a silly thing to say.

    Still, nice to know you have no problem with dehumanising people.

    (BTW, you should learn how binomial nomenclature works)

  28. flex says

    So about that poll… a little digging finds the following:

    https://www.publicpolicypolling.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/PPP_Release_National_ConspiracyTheories_040213.pdf

    In this 2013 poll, performed from March 27-30 and released on April 2 (3 days later):
    1,247 registered voters were contacted to rate their belief in 20 different conspiracy theories.
    The pollsters give their margin of error as 2.8%.
    The pollsters found that 4% of respondents, believed that lizard people control the world by assuming human form, gaining political power and manipulating society.

    Other results:
    28% of respondent believed in a conspiracy among global elites to form an authoritarian new world order.
    13% thought that Barak Obama was the anti-Christ, presumably not those who said he was also a lizard.
    14% believe that the CIA was involved in selling crack cocaine in the inner cities
    9% thought the US government was fluoridating the water for nefarious (unspecified) reasons.
    11% thought the World Trade Center attacks were known by the US Government ahead of time, and were allowed to occur.
    5% thought that Paul McCartney died in 1966 and was replaced in the band The Beatles

    The poll was conducted through automated telephone interviews.

    So, let’s use a little bit of skepticism here. First, the respondents were self-selecting. that is, if a person they called hung up, they didn’t give any answer to the questions. I haven’t found how many calls were attempted, only that once the automated polling number of respondents reached 1,247 they stopped. Alternatively, they polled for a set period of time, and then counted the number of respondents, but that’s less likely.

    In addition, I’ve looked into other polls like this before and found that it is very common for questions like these to be part of a larger poll. I.e. if you want to know if people like chicken rather than beef, you can hire a pollster to add it to a list of 60 other questions for the respondent. That’s a lot, and I mean a lot, cheaper than hiring a poll for a specific purpose. I’m not saying I know that was what happened here, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

    But let’s assume this poll was only included the 26 questions listed.

    A couple of things stand out:
    1. Only 15% of the respondents were in the age range of 18-29. So there were 187 of them.
    2. In several questions, of the more ludicrous nature, the majority of the people who reported they believed in them were of that age cohort.

    For example 24 of the 50 people who said they believed that lizard people were trying to take over the earth were from the age group of 18-29. Another 15 who professed that belief were from the second smallest cohort, i.e. only 20% of the respondents were of the age group of 30-45, but 6% (15) of them claimed they believed in lizard people. That accounts for 39 of 50, with the other 11 people responding that they believed in lizard people being over the age of 45 (65% of the respondents or 810 people).

    The same pattern shows up in other questions:

    Does the US government spread chemicals through plane exhaust?
    Ages 18-29 – 32 people said yes; 17% of 187
    Ages 30-45 – 12 people said yes; 5% of 250
    Ages 46-65 – 11 people said yes; 2% of 561
    Ages 66+ – 5 people said yes; 2% of 250

    Was Paul McCartney replaced?
    Ages 18-29 – 26 people said yes; 14% of 187
    Ages 30-45 – 12 people said yes; 5% of 250
    Ages 46-65 – 22 people said yes; 4% of 561
    Ages 66+ – 3 people said yes; 1% of 250

    (As I don’t have the original data, there is some rounding going on. So the numbers may not add up exactly, but each bracket should be +/- 1 person.)

    The real message I get from this survey is that younger people are more likely to give spurious answers to automated phone surveys than older people. And that the baseline for trying to make a joke of surveys is about:

    Ages 18-29 – About 15% of respondents will not always answer honestly
    Ages 30-45 – about 3% of respondents will not always answer honestly
    Ages 46 and above – about 1% of respondents will not always answer honestly

    Either that, or younger people are a lot less skeptical and far more inclined to believe in conspiracy theories than older people.

    Frankly, if I was teaching a critical thinking class at a high school level, this would be an excellent illustration for concepts on how percentages work as well as an introduction into interpreting statistics. I don’t think there are any real errors in the math here, but the results can be interpreted in a number of ways. What was reported in the media at the time did not include even the very basic analysis I did above. There are not so many questions that students would be lost in them, the topic is likely to be of interest to many students, and there are probably quite a few other observations possible in the reported data which was not summarized in the first page of the press release.

  29. unclefrogy says

    @37
    The late John Prine has an answer to that which is way better then I could ever put into words.

  30. John Morales says

    unclefrogy, I didn’t bother with the noise, but I did look up the lyrics.
    “Some humans ain’t human, some people ain’t kind”

    Leaving aside the obvious stupidity in the claim “some X aren’t X”, this chap clearly confuses ‘human’ with ‘humane’. Bah.

    Nothing more human than being selfish, self-centered, and nasty.

    PS

    The Hutu extremists set up a radio station, RTLM, and newspapers which circulated hate propaganda, urging people to “weed out the cockroaches” meaning kill the Tutsis. The names of prominent people to be killed were read out on radio.
    […]
    By the end of the 100-day killing spree, around 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus had been killed.

    (https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-26875506)

  31. John Morales says

    [Addendum — Wow! To be fairer, I started listening to his noise, and it’s miserable.
    A waily-wayly mopy tuneless dirge, that is. Obs, I didn’t get far.
    Still, I don’t doubt he puts that stupid sentiment better than you would, unclefrogy]

  32. unclefrogy says

    it is nice to be literal when it suits and metaphorical when it suits. poetic licorice and all
    thank you for your moral rectitude
    uncle frogy

  33. John Morales says

    unclefrogy:

    thank you for your moral rectitude

    Your attempted sarcasm is duly noted.

    See, here’s the thing. I don’t pretend to moral rectitude. Never have.

    And yet, here I am, telling self-righteous people that all humans are human, regardless of their beliefs or character.

    (Go figure, eh?)

    it is nice to be literal when it suits and metaphorical when it suits.

    Perhaps, but it’s no excuse for saying stupidities.

    (Not that I can stop you)

  34. Tethys says

    John Prine may not be everyone’s cup of tea as a vocalist, but he seems to be a legend of a songwriter and musician in the country/bluegrass/folk genre. That “waily” sound is inherent in steel guitar and singin dem blues.

    Sadly, covid killed him in October. Perhaps that fact is more relevant than quibbling over a poetic yet grammatically incorrect lyric or comment? I intrepreted said comment as ‘some humans aren’t humane’, even without the added E.

  35. hemidactylus says

    Can someone be more human than human? Tried dissecting those lyrics and failed though Zombie apparently was channeling Blade Runner.

  36. John Morales says

    Tethys, well, yes, I interpreted it that way, too. As I noted.

    Still, it all started from my response to this claim:
    “What bothers me are the homo sapiens who aren’t human.”

    No confusion there between ‘human’ and ‘humane’.

    And such claims are worth nipping in the bud, lest they become corollaries for further claims.

    As for the moany dirge-singer, each to their own.

    Sadly, covid killed him in October. Perhaps that fact is more relevant than quibbling over a poetic yet grammatically incorrect lyric or comment?

    Doubtful. He’s dead, I’ve never hitherto heard of him, I shan’t miss him at all.

    On the other hand, allowing people to claim some people are not human (which is what to what the OP refers) without push-back can lead to further radicalisation and deviation from reality.

    (I should hardly have to hammer the point home, but cf. https://www.npr.org/2011/03/29/134956180/criminals-see-their-victims-as-less-than-human)

  37. Tethys says

    Correction. John Prine died in April 2020. He was born in October.

    Hello in There is one of his more famous songs, it’s certainly been covered by many others since the 70s.
    “You know that old trees just grow stronger, and old rivers grow wilder each day. But old people just grow more lonesome, waiting for someone to say, Hello in there, hello “

  38. PaulBC says

    John Morales@40

    Seriously, you’re gonna pick a fight with John Prine? Now I wonder why I ever bother arguing with you about anything.

  39. Tethys says

    I took the humane vs human comment as a pun, since there is only so much to say about anyone who seriously believes in worldwide conspiracies involving lizard humanoids.

  40. John Morales says

    PaulBC:

    Seriously, you’re gonna pick a fight with John Prine?

    What? I’ve noted I found the one and only song by him (which was adduced to supposedly prove some stupid claim) which I’ve encountered to not just fail to make the case for the claim, but also to be dismal, tuneless and just plain silly-sad. But, you know, de gustibus and all that. Feel free to like that stuff.

    How I’m supposedly picking a fight with the deceased dude is unclear.

    (Care to elucidate?)

    Now I wonder why I ever bother arguing with you about anything.

    Aww.

    So, just because I find some dead singer to be boring and annoying, you wonder why you bother arguing about anything.

    Fine. Don’t bother. I can live with that.

    (It always amuses me when clueless people futilely try to push my buttons, not realising they’re indulging my predilection)

  41. hemidactylus says

    Would it be better to use “inhuman” as meaning cold and callous and not necessarily dehumanizing though “savage” could be a synonym? Savage is a bit archaic.

    Frickin Marvel clutters the google results. Bastards!

    https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/inhuman

    Definition #2 is bad if applied to humans, but some aspects of #1a would refer to the sorts of people who would dehumanize a person as a pretext to mistreating or killing them: “inhuman tyrant”. Maybe that was what LykeX was getting at.

    I can come across as #1b sometimes.

  42. John Morales says

    hemidactylus, yes. The first sense is the common one.

    Maybe that was what LykeX was getting at.

    Maybe. Hopefully.

  43. PaulBC says

    I do not literally believe in lizard people, but I still consider them the best explanation for what comes out of Washington, DC. I mean, it’s easily stated: we are ruled by beings who have no empathy and seem to want to kill us, though they claim otherwise (except when they slip up and tell the truth). You can debate policy all you want, but “lizard people in cheap human masks” has a great deal of explanatory power.

    When I hear Mick Mulvaney state that diabetics who can’t afford insulin should just shut up and die because it’s their own fault for eating too many potato chips, I could try to reconcile this with my understanding of ethics and our shared responsibility as a society, or I could just say… oh a lizard person, and run a little fantasy number in my head where he pulls the mask off and leers at the camera with beady reptile eyes.

    I defer to Matt Yglesias for an explanation:

    I cover economic policy for a living, and have done so for 17 years now. So I know that a lot of smart, competent people who are kind and friendly in their interpersonal behavior sincerely believe that depriving working and middle-class families of economic resources to reduce taxation on the rich is the right thing to do. I am not sympathetic to that agenda, but a healthy number of decent people do think that way, and they are extremely influential in Republican Party politics.

    But most voters find these ideas so outlandishly bad that they’ll only believe someone espouses them if you can convince them first that the person in question is a heartless monster. Priorities USA ultimately did, somewhat wrongly, convince people to think of Romney this way, and in doing so succeeded in driving home the larger (and completely accurate) point that these were his policy ideas

    Except that these aren’t “decent people.” They are heartless monsters, most of whom grew up with a level of privilege that they assume (usually correctly) that they will never be the victim of their own policies, whether it is cutting social spending, locking people up for minor drug offenses, or bombing other nations indiscriminately.

    I agree that they are human, but this is no defense. Humans are awful. Go back to nearly any culture or historical period and you will find the most outrageous atrocities committed. The only difference now is that we pretend people are “decent” because they smile on TV and very politely explain their complete lack of empathy.

  44. Tethys says

    Like Townes Van Zant and Leonard Cohen, some songwriters are just so good at creating poignant lyrics that the fact that they aren’t particularly skilled vocalists doesn’t matter. Hallelujah is a brilliant song, but I prefer listening to KD Langs voice singing it.

  45. PaulBC says

    John Morales@51

    (It always amuses me when clueless people futilely try to push my buttons, not realising they’re indulging my predilection)

    Uh, no. I get that part. Sometimes I will reply at length to you or others on the assumption that I was misunderstood and could at least explain my position better. I am generally not interested in pushing buttons, which is all too easy, but reaching consensus or at least detente.

    And yes, the effort is often futile.

  46. John Morales says

    Paul,

    … we are ruled by beings who have no empathy and seem to want to kill us, though they claim otherwise

    AKA “elected representatives”.

    You can debate policy all you want, but “lizard people in cheap human masks” has a great deal of explanatory power.

    No, it doesn’t.
    For example, self-interested people who wish to pursue and enforce their own agenda is more explanatory — if a bit cynical. And, of course, they’re very motivated to be the ones to make the rules.

    But that’s the thing, ain’t it? To get elected at all, one has to devote considerable time and resources over a considerable period of time. To get elected to a high position, one has to be rich and/or supremely dedicated and convincing — and yes, there’s a trade-off between wealth and necessary dedication. And a modicum of ability at demagoguery.

    Since you’re USAnian, I give you one name: Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

    Is she really one of the “lizard people in cheap human masks”?
    Does she really have no empathy and seems to want to kill us?
    Is she really a “heartless monster”?

  47. Matt G says

    Tethys@47- Prine was born in October but died in April?? Maybe the lizard people took him back in time to die. Crazy world!

  48. mailliw says

    Conspiracy theory? Surely it is a conspiracy ideology?

    Anything that doesn’t fit with the ideological position is denied or rejected.

  49. mailliw says

    @20 Flange

    Maybe you’ve seen this Bohemian Browser Ballett clip, with German mainstream media journalist and public television presenter Dunja Hayali conducting the interview?

    The automatic translation subtitles do a fairly good job for those who don’t understand German.

    Why Bielefeld? There is a widespread conspiracy in Germany that the town of Bielefeld doesn’t exist. The mayor recently offered 1 million Euros to anyone who could prove that Bielefeld doesn’t exist. Nobody won the prize – because of course neither Bielefeld nor the 1 million Euros exist

  50. raven says

    Like Townes Van Zant and Leonard Cohen, some songwriters are just so good at creating poignant lyrics that the fact that they aren’t particularly skilled vocalists doesn’t matter.

    Bob Dylan.

  51. PaulBC says

    What does it tell you when there is a livelier discussion about lizard people than about real salamanders?

  52. tacitus says

    @38: 13% thought that Barak Obama was the anti-Christ, presumably not those who said he was also a lizard.

    No presumption required. One of the hallmark traits of conspiracy theorists is that they typically believe in multiple, completely contradictory conspiracies.

  53. birgerjohansson says

    davidc1 @ 14
    “Oops, Apocalypse” was done as both a film and TV series, the latter with John Cleese as the terrorist who is smuggling a nuclear bomb. And, yes, the politicians in the story were as weird as the reptilian believers.

  54. Stuart Smith says

    They’re kind of straw manning the reptilian theory here. The lizard people are shape-shifters. If you don’t mention that part, it’s obviously absurd. Of course the elites aren’t NON-shape-shifting lizard people, everyone would notice. It’s their ability to take human form that makes them dangerous, precisely because now you can never prove or disprove them! By making their existence impossible to disprove, they have stepped beyond the bounds of science! Yet the biased article uses the phrase “in disguise” and “lizard people in suits” like they are just wearing a human costume or something. What kind of objective journalism is that?

  55. vucodlak says

    @ John Morales, #57

    For example, self-interested people who wish to pursue and enforce their own agenda is more explanatory is more explanatory

    “Self-interest” fails completely as an explanation for the policy that comes out of (mostly) Republican circles these days. The sadistic, evangelical cruelty of people like Mitch McConnell is necessarily interested in others more that the self.

    To claim far-right congresscritters do it because they’re lizard people from the eighth-and-a-half dimension who feed on human suffering is ridiculous, but it’s closer to an actual explanation than a statement like “they’re self-interested and pursuing their own agenda.” Indeed, it would hard to be come up with an emptier statement than the quoted- who isn’t at least somewhat self-interested and pursuing their own agenda?

    You could just as easily say “self-interested lizard-people who wish to pursue and enforce their own agenda,” and it would be more informative than the quoted statement, because at least we know they’re lizard-people now, rather than homo sapiens. It still wouldn’t being saying much, because it doesn’t tell us anything about the interests or agendas of lizard-people, but it would be more than what you’re saying.

  56. PaulBC says

    It ought to be a dead giveaway that one of their elders goes by the name of “Newt.”

    And yes, I know newts are amphibians, not reptiles, but it’s pretty clear that they have been teasing us along for at least three decades.

  57. John Morales says

    vucodlak @69:

    To claim far-right congresscritters do it because they’re lizard people from the eighth-and-a-half dimension who feed on human suffering is ridiculous, but it’s closer to an actual explanation than a statement like “they’re self-interested and pursuing their own agenda.”

    Fine; for you, the ridiculous is more credible than the banal, so long as you find it more explanatory.

    (How is your purported stance any different from that of QAnon adherents?)

    You could just as easily say “self-interested lizard-people who wish to pursue and enforce their own agenda,” and it would be more informative than the quoted statement, because at least we know they’re lizard-people now, rather than homo sapiens.

    Heh. Another instance of “homo sapiens” — that refers to informed gay people, right?

  58. vucodlak says

    @ John Morales, #71

    Fine; for you, the ridiculous is more credible than the banal, so long as you find it more explanatory.

    Please, do point to where I said it was credible. I said it was more of an explanation than your statement, not that it was true. Your statement was trivially true, yes, but it was also no more informative than saying “water is wet.”

    All people- no, scratch that- all lifeforms capable of self-interest are self-interested to some degree, and all life capable of forming their own agendas pursue their own agendas. Water is wet… except the question is more like: “why is the drinking water making people sick?” Your popping in to say “water is wet” as though you’re dropping some profound wisdom on the thread is not more helpful than the person who claims that the water is making people sick because the lizard people have been bathing in it.

    It is, in fact, less helpful, because the “lizard people” explanation at least offers a testable hypothesis. That doesn’t mean we should start believing in lizard people, or that we need to go so far as to test the water for lizard people secretions (we can safely assume it’s not lizard people), but it is at least closer to offering an explanation for the issue at hand than “water is wet.”

    You made the claim that your explanation was more explanatory than the lizard people hypothesis. It ain’t. It’s truer, but it has even less value as an explanation, because it doesn’t address the question being asked in any meaningful sense.

  59. PaulBC says

    Getting back to me@17, the more I think about it, the more the Reptilian-5G nexus makes perfect sense.

    Why would reptiles want us to have faster phone data? That makes no sense at all. On the other hand, when they claim their “new technologies” require “rare earth” elements, they’re saying the quiet part out loud. If these elements are rare on earth, just imagine how rare they’ve become on their home world with the need to produce their marauding space fleet? Plus, they’re lizards, so obviously they have no concept at all of sustainable industry. Have you once seen a lizard recycle anything?

    The so-called “5G network” is really just an excuse to refine these minerals and place them in convenient locations to be “harvested” during phase two when they will descend like a plague of locusts and remove our entire communication infrastructure we’ve become increasingly dependent on, serving the dual purpose of obtaining elements they’ve long depleted while hamstringing any possible response.

    It’s all finally making sense.

  60. John Morales says

    vucodlak:

    Please, do point to where I said it was credible. I said it was more of an explanation than your statement, not that it was true.

    In your opinion. Actually, it’s no more explanatory than “god did it” — it supposedly accounts for something at the cost of adding an entire new supposition which is left unexplained.

    But fine, that Satan’s minions are causing havoc by having evil spirits inhabit our lawmakers is quite explanatory, in your estimation.

    That’s QAnonic thinking, right there.

    You made the claim that your explanation was more explanatory than the lizard people hypothesis. It ain’t.

    In your opinion.

    It’s truer, but it has even less value as an explanation, because it doesn’t address the question being asked in any meaningful sense.

    Not my fault you don’t get it.

    Perhaps you’ll find Douglas Adams’ formulation more illuminating:
    “The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.”

  61. Tethys says

    While it is true that many who want to rule are not competent, there are also highly competent, non-wealthy people who currently hold elected office. I don’t see AOC, Katie Porter, or Jacinda Ardern as people who are interested in ruling so much as they desire to govern in a democratic fashion.
    Homo in Latin is man/human. The Greek root is homos/same. I am fairly certain there are many terms in both languages that apply to gay relationships, but our modern term is a calque of the Greek root homos and the Latin ending sex.
    For an interesting article on the etymology of gay, read Anatoly Libermans.
    https://blog.oup.com/2012/02/word-origin-roots-gay/

  62. John Morales says

    Heh, Paul. I started out with a little educational jab, and then I became jocular, but Tethys still missed the point, so I was more direct.

    And, no, it’s not the equivalent. From your adduced link’s content:
    “A posting ostentatiously correcting a previous article’s spelling as a way of casting scorn on the point the article was trying to make, instead of actually responding to that point”.

    See, it was not instead of, it was in addition to addressing the point being made. Check for yourself, if you don’t believe me.

    (Say, how do you feel about people wisely writing about, say, “degrees Kelvin”?)

  63. Tethys says

    @John Morales
    I am quite cognizant of the naming system and that the binomial name of humans is Homo sapiens. I’ve no idea what fault you are seeing in the previous commenters use of the term. Lack of capitalization?? Italics? The irony of so many thinking humans, casually making thoughtless blanket statements?
    I wonder, what is the proper nomenclature for lizard people? Homoherpes simulus springs to mind.

  64. John Morales says

    Tethys, as am I quite cognisant of the Latin homo and vir, and of the origins and adoption of ‘gay’ to mean ‘homosexual’, as well that the ‘homo-‘ prefix is from Greek, not from Latin.

    Lack of capitalization?? Italics? The irony of so many thinking humans, casually making thoughtless blanket statements?

    Nah, the sloppy use of common scientific nomenclature, presumably intended to sound more authoritative. And yes, I know the intent is to allude to the “no true Scotsman” type of purity appeal by repudiating counter-examples.

    Again, I was too oblique, apparently.

  65. PaulBC says

    As long as we remain sidetracked by binomial nomenclature, the lizard people have already won.

  66. PaulBC says

    @80

    Nah, the sloppy use of common scientific nomenclature, presumably intended to sound more authoritative.

    I got it, but it still seemed pointlessly pedantic. Homo sapiens is a common enough term that it does not add much of an authoritative sound anyway, so failing to capitalize or italicize is no worse than any other mistake in spelling or punctuation, of which there are many.

    This is one of the ways the lizard people seek to divide us.

  67. John Morales says

    Yeah, Paul, but did it not occur to you that complaining about my supposed complaining is itself a digression of the very same kind?

    (Should I start complaining about you complaining about what you see as my complaining, to keep the involution going? ;) )

  68. John Morales says

    Or, you know, you could address my claim “I know the intent is to allude to the “no true Scotsman” type of purity appeal by repudiating counter-examples.”

    But fine, abstain from actually addressing my more substantive claims via the guise of levity.

    Anyway. Since you have such an interest about these reptilians and the belief therein is sorta on-topic, are you familiar with David Icke?
    From Wikipedia (citations elided)

    “Icke believes that an inter-dimensional race of reptilian beings called the Archons have hijacked the earth and are stopping humanity from realising its true potential. He claims they are the same beings as the Anunnaki, deities from the Babylonian creation myth the EnĂ»ma Eliš, and the fallen angels, or Watchers, who mated with human women in the Biblical apocrypha.

    He believes that a genetically modified human/Archon hybrid race of shape-shifting reptilians, known as the “Babylonian Brotherhood” or the Illuminati, manipulate global events to keep humans in constant fear, so the Archons can feed off the “negative energy” this creates. In The Biggest Secret, Icke identified the Brotherhood as descendants of reptilians from the constellation Draco, and said they live in caverns inside the earth.

    […]

    As of 2003, Icke claims the reptilian bloodline includes all American presidents, three British and two Canadian prime ministers, several Sumerian kings and Egyptian pharaohs, and a smattering of celebrities. Key bloodlines are said to include the Rockefellers, Rothschilds, various European aristocratic families, the establishment families of the Eastern United States, and the British House of Windsor. Icke has claimed that he saw former British Prime Minister Ted Heath’s eyes turn entirely “jet black” while the two men waited for a Sky News interview in 1989. He confirmed to Andrew Neil in May 2016 that he believes the British royal family are shape-shifting lizards. In 2001, Icke said the Queen Mother was “seriously reptilian””

    All fun and games, until people start acting on it.

  69. Tethys says

    @ John
    I am aware of your linguistic knowledge, I simply do not understand why one would “presume” that someone who used the Homo sapiens is doing it to sound authoritative, especially if the topic is lizard people.

  70. vucodlak says

    @ John Morales, #74

    Actually, it’s no more explanatory than “god did it” — it supposedly accounts for something at the cost of adding an entire new supposition which is left unexplained.

    Oh dear, are we going to have to go back to your statement yet again? Looks like we are:

    For example, self-interested people who wish to pursue and enforce their own agenda is more explanatory — if a bit cynical.

    Find me a human who isn’t self-interested, one who has no “agenda.” They do exist, but people in persistent vegetative states tend to be poor campaigners, and thus rarely win elections. Corpses, on the other hand, tend to do rather well in our elections, but it’s not the corpse we install in the office.

    Self-interest is a basic survival trait- pretty much everyone displays it to one degree or another. An “agenda” is the product of the ability to plan- pretty much everyone has one, good, bad, or indifferent. Congratulations, your statement describes essentially all of humanity. To continue the metaphor I used in #72, your superior explanation successfully stated that water is wet. Where it drops the ball is in being more explanatory of the reason that the water is making people sick when they drink it… which is the matter under discussion.

    I don’t see anyone here seriously arguing that lizard people are taking a bath in it, either.

    But fine, that Satan’s minions are causing havoc by having evil spirits inhabit our lawmakers is quite explanatory, in your estimation.

    That would be more explanatory than your statement, yes. Almost any explanation would be. However, that it’s more explanatory doesn’t necessarily mean truer or more correct; it would merely be an attempt to address the point being discussed.

    Not my fault you don’t get it.

    Yeah, see, the problem is that I do get it. You offered, as more explanatory, a statement that explains less. That your statement is true was never what I was debating; that it has little-to-no worth as an explanation is my point.

    Regarding the Adams quote:
    That’s all very lovely, but that’s not what you said, is it?

    From your #80:

    Nah, the sloppy use of common scientific nomenclature, presumably intended to sound more authoritative.

    I used “homo sapiens” to contrast with it “lizard people.” I first typed “human,” but ultimately didn’t use it because contrasting one intelligent species with another by labeling them “human” and “not human” has ugly historical connotations. I couldn’t very well use the species name for lizard people because… there are no lizard people. More’s the pity- I’m into claws and scales. I didn’t capitalize the “h” because I didn’t like the way it looked, and this is not a thesis paper.

    But sure, sick burn, you really got me there.

  71. PaulBC says

    @86

    I simply do not understand why one would “presume” that someone who used the Homo sapiens is doing it to sound authoritative, especially if the topic is lizard people.

    True. In that case, I would probably write Homo reptilis to sound authoritative, whether or not it is proper Latin. I don’t really know, but I could bluff.

  72. John Morales says

    Tethys @86, fair enough. There are many possible reasons, and the author has not bothered to weigh in, so I was probably a bit uncharitable there.
    It might have been a simple careless typo. Maybe.

    someone who used the term Homo sapiens

    But they didn’t, did they?
    The actual term was improperly capitalised; had it been otherwise, my informative little aside would not have occurred, and thus this digression would not have eventuated.

    PaulBC, clearly, we differ in what we find droll.

    (BTW, are you aware that you’ve improperly capitalised ‘president’ in this instance, since you’re using it as a proper noun?)

  73. John Morales says

    vucodlak @89:

    Oh dear, are we going to have to go back to your statement yet again? Looks like we are:

    For example, self-interested people who wish to pursue and enforce their own agenda is more explanatory — if a bit cynical.

    Find me a human who isn’t self-interested, one who has no “agenda.”

    Well, I was addressing Paul, and I didn’t see the need to write an long dissertation.
    I presume he got what I was trying to convey, unlike you, on the basis he didn’t raise your vacuous quibbles about it.

    Change it to particularly self-interested people, since I was referring to a relative, not to an absolute degree of such self-interest.

    (Does that help?)

    To continue the metaphor I used in #72, your superior explanation successfully stated that water is wet.

    To continue my clarification, water with wetting agents (surfactants) is ‘wetter’ than ordinary water. Wetter water!

    Yeah, see, the problem is that I do get it. You offered, as more explanatory, a statement that explains less.

    Heh. You didn’t get the ‘goddidit’ analogy, did you?

    Sure, it “explains” something, at the cost of invoking an entirely new unknown thing which is left unexplained. And which you concede is ridiculous and non-credible, to boot.

    Regarding the Adams quote:
    That’s all very lovely, but that’s not what you said, is it?

    Not in so many words, no. I over-estimated your acumen. My bad.

    From your #80:

    Nah, the sloppy use of common scientific nomenclature, presumably intended to sound more authoritative.

    I used “homo sapiens” to contrast with it “lizard people.”

    Actually, it was my #71 which addressed your usage; #80 was addressing Tethys’ explicit inquiry.

    But sure, sick burn, you really got me there.

    I did? Huh. It was just an offhand aside, so that’s a bit sad.

    (Apparently, I don’t even have to try!)

  74. vucodlak says

    @ John Morales, #92

    I presume he got what I was trying to convey, unlike you, on the basis he didn’t raise your vacuous quibbles about it.

    I got what you were trying to say. I’m just pointing out that you failed.

    Not in so many words, no.

    Ah, but you didn’t say it at all. You made the entirely different (and rather less astute) observation that humans who act like humans serve in human government, which is fundamentally different than Adams’ assertion that the humans who most desire to rule are least suitable to do so.

    Actually, it was my #71 which addressed your usage; #80 was addressing Tethys’ explicit inquiry.

    In your comment at #80, you were attempting to deduce my motivations for the use of “homo sapiens” in my comment at #69. And failing. So I thought I’d help you out by explaining why I said it, as you did seem to be struggling with it.

    The real question is whether you’ve figured out why I’m doing this yet. On a totally probably unrelated note, it is very annoying when someone hijacks a thread with “vacuous quibbles” for no other reason than to show off their, ahem, “superiority,” isn’t it? Obnoxious, even.

  75. John Morales says

    vucodlak:

    I got what you were trying to say. I’m just pointing out that you failed.

    If you got it, I didn’t fail.
    If I failed, you didn’t get it.

    You made the entirely different (and rather less astute) observation that humans who act like humans serve in human government, which is fundamentally different than Adams’ assertion that the humans who most desire to rule are least suitable to do so.

    Well, at least if it’s less astute, it’s nonetheless astute. Thanks.

    Look: those who get elected are those who seek to be elected, not those who have it forced upon them. So, unless you imagine everyone wants to be elected (I don’t), only certain types of people go through the rigmarole.

    In your comment at #80, you were attempting to deduce my motivations for the use of “homo sapiens” in my comment at #69.

    You wish. Nah, I was referring to #37, which was a response to #36.
    Your #71 was, as I noted, yet another instance — but not the primary one.

    The real question is whether you’ve figured out why I’m doing this yet.

    Heh. I don’t care in the least why you’re doing whatever you’re doing, but I do like to argue, and you’re providing me with fodder.

    On a totally probably unrelated note, it is very annoying when someone hijacks a thread with “vacuous quibbles” for no other reason than to show off their, ahem, “superiority,” isn’t it?

    Well, maybe it is. But it’s not what I’m doing.

    I made one (1) comment about the usage, which was actually a parenthetical aside rather the main comment, and thereafter have only responded at most once to each retort. So, whence this purported highjacking?

    Perhaps consider whether your perception about my supposed “superiority” is engendered by your own perception of your “inferiority”.

    Anyway, I get it. You think you’re teaching me a lesson, showing me what’s what.

    (How’s it working for you?)

  76. says

    My problem with statements parsing out some awful people as “not human” (in a metaphorical sense, sure, but still setting them apart), for instance, saying that the Nazis were (are) inhuman monsters, and/or that there was something uniquely awful about “the German national character”, is that too often those statements are a way of denying that any one of us, given the right developmental circumstances, the right context, could become as monstrous. (We’ve seen the hollowness of the claim “It can’t happen here!”) Such people, including Mitch McConnell, various Trumpista toadies, et alia as contemporary examples, are, sadly, entirely human, well within the range of possible forms of character for our species. Imagining that there are lizard people behind the ills of our world is a way of avoiding facing the reality of our own negative potential as Homo sapiens sapiens.

  77. PaulBC says

    kaimatthews@96 That’s true, and I suppose you could (yawn) accuse them of exhibiting the worst of human nature, which many of us try harder to avoid.

    Still, I get more satisfaction out of saying “fucking lizard people!” as well as imagining the big reveal when the rubber masks come off and they face the camera on national TV with their beady eyes and forked tongues darting in and out of their mouths.

    It is perhaps just the thought of saying “Aha! I knew it! See! See! And you didn’t believe me!” that keeps me going through the roughest days.

  78. davidc1 says

    @67 I suspected it was that .Barry Morse as a POTUS named Johnny Cyclops John Barron as a henry k figure .
    The Johnny Cyclops song
    “Who Spends Every Thursday Night With a Whore ?”
    Pause .
    “Not Johnny Cyclops ,That’s For Sure .”