Belief In Chemtrails Associated With Inability To Distiguish Between Evidence And Assertion
Three days ago, I wrote an article challenging people to provide me with data proving that a chemtrail conspiracy exists.
I wrote: “Show us all the proof. Give us the data, and give us the documentation we need to be assured that your data is genuine. Give us the evidence that airplanes are purposefully being used to spray poisons in chemtrails across the United States. Give us the data that shows dried human blood cells, pathogens, aluminum oxide, magnesium, barium, calcium. You’ve made the claims – now where are the documents?”
Yesterday, an Irregular Times reader left a large mass of comments in response to this challenge. Today, I respond to this material, piece by piece. Does it constitute proof of the existence of chemtrails, massive poisonous clouds purposefully spread behind airplanes as part of a government conspiracy to make Americans sick?
PART 1: THE DOCTOR FROM ARIZONA
The first comment from this reader consists of a letter written by Dr. Michael Pece. The letter contains a number of allegations:
– the lack of rain in Arizona in 2002 was due to Barium from chemtrails
– patients suffering from headaches, sinus congestion, asthma and ear infections are suffering these conditions because of chemtrails
– analysis of hair samples collected from his patients show high levels of barium
– chemtrails are not contrails
Most of the supposed data in this document is mere assertion without any documentation. Pece says that a drought in Arizona was caused by chemtrail, but doesn’t provide any evidence for this claim. A linakage of patient health conditions to chemtrails and scientifically-established criteria for distinguishing between chemtrails and contrails are also lacking.
The “high levels” of barium in patients’ hair might be considered data, but Dr. Pece didn’t include his measurements. His claims cannot, therefore, be independently verified. Even if we accept his claim of data about barium in patients’ hair, the letter Dr. Pece is still completely lacking evidence specifically linking the barium to chemtrails.
Dr. Pece and his patients live in Phoenix, one of the largest cities in the nation. We can imagine that the number of potential sources of barium pollution in a city that size would be quite substantial. The EPA states that, “The major sources of barium in drinking water are discharge of drilling wastes; discharge from metal refineries; and erosion of natural deposits.” There are metal refineries in Phoenix. There’s no reason to presume that Barium contamination among people in Phoenix comes from a secret government program to poison everyone using chemtrails.
PART 2: ANECDOTES FROM LAS VEGAS
A second message from our reader forwards claims of chemtrails by Sandy Range, a resident of Las Vegas. Range claims to have have started noticing chemtrails in 1996, asserting that she now sees chemtrails every day.
Range claims to have collected a specimen of chemtrail material dropped onto her car by a low-flying aircraft in 1999.
No documentation of the supposed specimen of chemtrail material is included in our reader’s message. The existence of the specimen remains at the level of unsubstantiated allegation.
Range’s statements about commonly seeing chemtrails also lacks substantiation. Range fails even to explain what the difference between a chemtrail and a contrail is, other than to say that she believes anything that appears to be a contrail, but does not quickly dissipate, must be a chemtrail.
Range fails to provide any documented evidence to believe that persistent contrails contain any toxins. She only gives us her word.
PART 3: THE PREACHER, THE IMPEACHMENT, AND CHEMTRAILS
Another portion of our reader’s second comment describes the testimony of Everett Burton, a former Southern Baptist preacher. According to the comment, Burton called up a C-Span TV show, and started talking about the impeachment of Bill Clinton, and then commented, “just look up in the skies as the planes regularly spray contrails across the skies, spraying people and making people ill.” It is alleged that Burton’s connection to the C-Span call-in show was cut off at this point.
The comment contains no proof that the described C-Span segment was ever, in fact, filmed and broadcast. Even if the broadcast existed, it only proves that a telephone connection between Burton and C-Span was disrupted, whether on purpose or accidentally. The anecdote provides no evidence that chemtrails actually exist.
PART 4: A NEWSPAPER ARTICLE
Our reader next cuts and pastes an article written by Marcus K. Dalton, who used to work for a Las Vegas newspaper, but got fired. Dalton writes of chemtrails that, “They appear EVERY weekend without fail, the only exception being the two weeks after September 11, 2001,” and calls them “undeniable and mysterious”.
Dalton refers to an article in the entertainment weekly publication Columbus Alive, in which two Air Force scientists are said to admit to working on aerial spraying experiments.
The article states that, “Several independent sources claim that samples of fallout from the lingering smoke trails and have been independently tested and found to contain ethylene dibromide.”
Dalton takes testimony from chemtrails conspiracy theorist, William Thomas, who has noted that some garden plants near Santa Fe, New Mexico and Aspen, Colorado have not been growing very well. Thomas claims to have over one thousand eyewitness accounts of chemtrails that are part of a “deliberate biological attack” by the U.S. government against the American people.
The article contains general observations of health problems, such as the fact that women contract the disease lupus, and that many Americans report coming down with a bad cough.
Dalton also notes that Dennis Kucinich once introduced legislation to Congress that would have banned chemtrails.
The article asserts that denials of the existence of chemtrails by government officials themselves are evidence that chemtrails exist.
Dalton’s basic sense of logic seems to have been overwhelmed by his desire to attract attention. Dalton never substantiates his claims about what chemtrails are, or that they even exist. He doesn’t stop to consider that, if chemtrails are mysterious, that means that there isn’t much that’s known about them, and not at all undeniable.
Columbus Alive does not have any articles about chemtrails on its web site. There are a couple of articles purporting to have been originally published in the entertainment newspaper that have been posted on other web sites. These rambling articles are editorials written by Bob Fitrakis, a believer in chemtrails, and never identify any proof that chemtrails exist. Fitrakis does little more than forward rumors and suggest that skeptics should read certain books if they don’t believe him: “As for chemtrail skeptics, they might want to consult Rutgers University Political Science Professor Leonard Cole’s book Clouds of Secrecy: The Army’s Germ Warfare Test Over Populated Areas. Chemtrail deniers are apparently happy with the thought that their beloved paternalistic government would.” Fitrakis pounces on innocuous bits of information, such as the fact that an Air Force crew was once trained in methods of spraying pesticide to eradicate invasive insect swarms. Among the experts that Fitrakis cites to try to prove his point are a group of elementary school students he says gained access to top secret information about chemtrails programs.
The “several independent sources” that have supposedly confirmed the chemical content of chemtrails are never identified.
Dalton never provides any evidence linking chemtrails to gardeners’ problems in New Mexico or Colorado.
William Thomas, the conspiracy theorist cited by Dalton, doesn’t explain why, if there have been over a thousand chemtrail biological weapons attacks by the federal government, there isn’t any record of massive outbreaks of illness that would result from such an enormous number of terrorist incidents. Neither Dalton nor Thomas provide any documentation to the claim of the existence of these eyewitness reports, nor do they explain how eyewitnesses on the ground could tell by looking at a contrail up in the sky that it contains microscopic pathogens being used in a bioterrorist attack by our own government.
The fact that women get lupus does not prove that their lupus was caused by chemtrails. The article fails to document any increase in the incidence of lupus generally, or a correlation between concentrations of lupus and observations of chemtrails. Bad coughs aren’t proof of chemtrails, as there are many alternative, and more plausible explanations, such as allergies and cold viruses.
The introduction of a bill by former Congressman Dennis Kucinich to ban chemtrails doesn’t prove anything except that Kucinich himself believed that chemtrails might exist. That’s hardly strong evidence, as Kucinich has been associated with all manner of bizarre ideas, such as the Breatharian faith that people can be healthy without eating any food or drinking any water and the idea that visitors from other planets are zooming around in giant triangular spaceships through the Earth’s skies – though these spaceships never manage to be photographed. Kucinich has never been able to summon any hard evidence that chemtrails exist.
There’s a whole lot of talk in this material about chemtrails, but as before, there’s no actual documented evidence that chemtrails exist, much less that they have any particular characteristics and can be linked to any harmful effects among human beings on the ground.