Sunday, March 17, 2019

Are Multiple Personalities Real?

I asked people who were diagnosed with Multiple Personality Disorder (MPD) (also known as Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID)) a series of questions about having multiple personalities. 

I hold these people in the highest regard for their courage and honesty in life.

Jeanette Bartha, USA:

 When did you start exhibiting alternate personalities (alters), and what do you think caused them?

I started to exhibit alters about 3-4 weeks after beginning treatment with an MPD expert. What caused them was having 100% insurance coverage, being sequestered on the ward, not seeing friends or family, a poor diet, no exercise, high doses of narcotics and a delusional doctor.

 I’ve heard people with “MPD/DID” say they have blackouts or periods of memory loss when being different alters. Did you?  If so, can you explain the cause of the blackouts?

No blackouts unless you count being given too many narcotics.

 Did your friends and family believe you had different personalities?  If so, why do you think they believed you?

They never knew about the details of my treatment.

 Would you say you were acting?  Did it feel like acting?

No, I wouldn't say I was acting. I was living up to his expectations and believed the alters were real - after a while and many truth serum interviews. I was assured by the doctor that I was not acting, lying, or mis-remembering.

 If you could say one thing to yourself at that time, what would it be?

Run! You're much worse than you were at admission. Get out of here.

 What made you stop believing you had multiple personalities?

It was an ah-ha moment. I had been jogging and my head cleared. 

 Are multiple personalities real?

Only in the minds of some psychiatrists and film-makers.

Roma Hart, Canada

 When did you start exhibiting alternate personalities (alters), and what do you think caused them?

October 1986 at the end of my first appointment with Dr. Colin Ross. I had gone to a university student guidance counsellor Lynn Ryan to get a form fill out for an extension to my unemployment insurance at the suggestion of my friend, but the form required a doctor and this guidance counsellor, who was also a student of Dr.Colin Ross, was sure that he would fill out the form for me. Although the unemployment was based upon a foot injury it just seemed easier to get an extension based on stress, I was certainly under stress, and when the student counsellor asked me what I did when I was under stress and I answered “I just switch to auto pilot” she immediately diagnosed that as another personality and became excited at the possibility of working with her idol and professor Colin Ross who held claim to being the only MPD expert in Western Canada at that time. I just needed the form filled out, I didn’t believe in multiple personality disorder and had read in a Psychology Today magazine several years earlier that it was junk science, no such thing existed. Nevertheless there Lynn and I were a few days later, in Ross’ office in the St. Boniface Hospital psych. building. 

At the end of the first appointment Ross asked me if he could speak to one of my personalities and I felt pressured to produce one for him. The student counsellor was sitting right beside me and I knew that I had a tendency to cry very easily when I has PMS, and that when I had PMS I hated being touched because my skin felt like it was on fire, an estrogen overload kind of effect. Well I just happened to have pretty bad PMS that day so I told the counsellor to touch me and I would switch to another personality. She did, worse than just a touch she started rubbing my back and I could not help myself from cringing and crying to get the hell away from her because she wouldn’t stop rubbing my back. 

Dr.Colin Ross was very pleased indeed for the apparent personality switch and I just nodded yes to every question he asked, I just wanted to get out of his office as soon as possible. I was terrified of going to a psychiatrist’s office and terrified of drugs but the student counsellor had assured me before going to that appointment that MPD was the only diagnosis that never required hospitalization and never required drugs, so I believed that if I were to get out of Ross’ office then I needed that diagnosis and no other. Furthermore, I needed that damn form filled out because I needed the money, I had no intention of ever coming back for another appointment.  Well, Ross filled out the form and shook my hand welcoming me to MPD therapy at the end of that first appointment.    

 How many alters did you have? 

I had 48 alter personalities, Ross said I had more but I was too bored to look for more and the MPD therapy was making me very sick.

 I’ve heard people with “MPD/DID” say they have blackouts or periods of memory loss when being different alters. Did you?  If so, can you explain the cause of the blackouts?

My so-called blackouts were nothing more than ordinary moments of distraction and day dreaming, for example missing my stop on the bus because I was looking out the window thinking about something. My periods of memory loss were nothing more than normal forgetting because something happened a long time ago. However, all supposed blackouts and supposed memory loss were rewarded by Ross and the other MPD support group members, it supported the cult like environment of the believers in MPD.  

 Did your friends and family believe you had different personalities?  If so, why do you think they believed you?

Not my family, but I had one friend who wanted to be included in my MPD treatment program and seemed to love the drama.

 Would you say you were acting?  Did it feel like acting?

In the very beginning I felt like an actor, but by the second appointment I was completely sucked into the game. By the third appointment Ross had me convinced I was not only sexually abused by my whole family throughout my entire childhood but was also part of a murderous satanic cult. By the fourth visit he had me believe that I had an alien baby. The following month I attempted suicide. The following month, after standing in the hallway by the nurses station in the St. Boniface Hospital psych. building and yelling that “ it was all a lie and that nothing was true”, Dr. Colin Ross had me committed, forcibly injected with high levels of drugs, put in a seclusion room , and had one of his nurses sit beside me on the floor saying to me over and over again that it was all true. Well I never did that again, learned my lesson.

 If you could say one thing to yourself at that time, what would it be?

At the first step toward the St. Boniface Hospital I would have screamed at myself to stop and run in the opposite direction as fast and as far as I could. When I had decided to just go to Ross’ office and pretend I had MPD to get the form filled out I thought that nothing could go wrong, I wasn’t crazy, all I had to do was sit there and talk to him for an hour, no harm could ever come from that, in a few weeks I could just go back to work. Boy was I wrong! What would I say to myself back then? Lots could go wrong! So much could go very wrong very quickly, oh my goodness turn around and never go in there and never ever speak to or listen to Dr. Colin Ross or his whacko student ever again!! 

 What made you stop believing you had multiple personalities?

I would watch the television show Sesame Street as a way to be kind to my child personality. There was one episode where Kermit the Frog and Grover were demonstrating emotions. Kermit would say this is what sad looks like, this is what angry looks like, this is what happy looks like, and then Grover would demonstrate what that feeling made him look like. Well, Hell! It was a light bulb moment for me. I remembered that before I met Ross I never had to switch personalities when I felt different emotions. Grover didn’t have to say he was a different name or a different person just because he was feeling a different emotion, he was still Grover all the time! That’s what I was like before MPD therapy! Geeeez! I was sick of MPD therapy and I was so sick of Ross not listening to me and always telling me to switch personalities. Then I remembered something I had learned as a student when I was in the university Faculty of Education, it was about “unlearning”. So I decided that if I had learned how to be MPD then I could unlearn it too. So that’s what I did, I unlearned it by stopping it.  

 Are multiple personalities real?

They’re only real if you believe in them. But they’re caused by bad therapy and bad therapists using junk science for personal investments of one kind or another. If you can manage to get away from those cult like influences and dust off your critical thinking skills then you’ll see that MPD is not a real thing and the personalities are not real thing either.

Sonja Karels, Netherlands

 When did you start exhibiting alternate personalities (alters), and what do you think caused them?

My GP started to treat me [for a nervous breakdown], but after a while he referred me to a Christian psychologist. A young man, just from school and we just couldn't stand each other. He was trying to put all the blame on my parents and I insisted I needed to get my own life in order, without blaming others. Back then he already believed my father did abuse me. (I found that out during an intake in a Christian center for abused women). We had a fight on the phone and I left.

Years later, I was married, with 2 small children I became depressed and anxious again, I also suffered from anorexia nervosa again... and I went to a conference to 'receive' healing from God. I really wanted to get better, to serve God better. And then I saw this psychologist and I thought I had to apologize to him, because otherwise God could not bless me (I don't believe that anymore, but back then I was theologically challenged and superstitious).

I apologized and he accepted my apologies and followed me everyday during that conference. After every meeting he wanted to pray with me, to ask God what was wrong with me. I felt cared for and loved and special. It was a very special treatment. And then on the 5th day I heard myself talk with a small childish voice and tell him that daddy did something when I was 3 months.

He should have said, “No, you can not possibly remember that”, but he was happy, finally the truth showed up. I was confused. Is that really true. He said, “Did you make it up?” No, it just happened I had no control.
He said, “We prayed, and God does not give stones when you ask for bread.” So I felt I had to believe it.

He told me he could help me, and I started therapy with him. Twice a week, 3 hours per session; I had to pay for it myself. After a few weeks I couldn't remember anything that happened in therapy. We taped the sessions and I had to listen to them during the week and write them down, word by word. DID was never mentioned; I found out months later what my diagnosis was. I was unaware of alters and lost a lot of time.

 How many alters did you have?

At first 25, but they kept coming. The 25 remained, they were the strongest. But later we 'discovered' circles within circles and there would be 7x7 circles of witches behind every strong alter and a lot of others. The end count was more than 1000. But 42-45 with names.

 I’ve heard people with “MPD/DID” say they have blackouts or periods of memory loss when being different alters. Did you?  If so, can you explain the cause of the blackouts?

Yes, a lot. Sometimes even for weeks and once 3 months. But most of the time it was just a few minutes or an hour. One cause is medication. I was heavily medicated. The other is - I think - stress and preoccupation with the false memories, like daydreaming about bad stuff. Sometimes I couldn't remember being to the therapist. I would 'wake' up in my car not knowing if I'd been to therapy.

The 3 months, I'm not sure I really lost 3 months. It felt like that, is it summer already? Yesterday it was February. I have no explanation for that.

 Did your friends and family believe you had different personalities?  If so, why do you think they believed you?

Yes, they did. My husband would recognize the alters and speak with them. Some friends did too. My children could call forward the 'fun' alters and embarrass me. I remember rolling over the floor in church with a bunch of children. Something I would never do. But they called a boy alter. I have been told I looked different, spoke differently, wore different clothes.

 Would you say you were acting?  Did it feel like acting?

No, I wasn't acting. I wish I was, because then I could have stopped doing it. I've been confused by all of this for 9 years. Sometimes it did feel like acting, especially in therapy. Like I was a puppet on a string, acting, but involuntary.

 If you could say one thing to yourself at that time, what would it be?

It is not true, you are not abused. Stop believing that nonsense. Make a list, make a timeline. (And if I just could say one word, it would be TIMELINE).

 What made you stop believing you had multiple personalities?

In 2002 I was fed up with all the medication and I decided to taper off. The psychiatrist warned me against it, but I wanted to have a clear head. It took me one year. I had help from an online group. It was a long and slow process, but after 9 months I felt better. During that time I didn't have therapy and I broke off all contact with other 'survivors'.  Suddenly I realized I didn't lose time, I didn't hear alters talking, something had changed. I told my husband to call me by my real name and nothing else. Doesn't matter if he thought he saw an alter, just my real name. It was a miracle and I loved it. But then I got depressed again and I remembered reading about integration that you need to get help to live as an integrated person. So I found another therapist. During the intake, 15 minutes in, he had a very angry alter talking and that brought me back in the multiple world.

I started doubting again, couldn't sleep, refused to take sleeping pills. Then I decided to make a list. A timeline. Stuff I knew that happened. First time to school at age 4; Little brother at age 5; Graduation at age 18. And another list with the new found memories. First baby at age 13; first rape at 3 months, etc. And full term twins born at age 18.

And then it hit me... graduation and full-term twins? During that year I became a Christian and made a lot of new friends, we would sport together, go to the beach together, have fun. We were also serious together. We did Bible study and talked a lot. Those people were between the ages 15-25. And no one saw my pregnancy? So that memory couldn't be true, but that was one of the most painful memories. I had more pain than delivering my 2 real children (without drugs). And if that wasn't true, how could the rest be true? And once I realized everything was false, I stopped believing I had multiple personalities. They told the stories, the stories weren't true, so they weren't true either. It was one big deceiving fictional mess.

 Are multiple personalities real?

No! I've met too many people like myself. They claim to be multiple, they believe they are multiple, but when they are honest they all say they have doubts. I believe it is learned behavior. You act different and the therapist asks what your name is. You learn quickly to just give a name. And then you have an alter. This sounds like making up a name, but it doesn't work that way. At least not with me. When the therapist asked a name, some name popped up in my head and that had to be it.

Kim (a pseudonym), USA

 When did you start exhibiting alternate personalities (alters), and what do you think caused them?

I feel like I started to dissociate after I left a cult that I was in.  I just would stare off into the distance for long points of time, and I felt like I didn't know who I was. This is actually a common phenomenon in cults and is caused by something called pseudo-identities. Where the cult will separate your core identity from the person you are supposed to be in the cult. It's how cults are able to make people do things they normally wouldn't do. (Example, the Manson crew killing 7 people, or Bob Jones cult drinking laced Kool Aid).  I guess that's how dissociation started. When it got really bad, I entered a top-notch dissociative unit in the US. I went there, because I was dissociating so much. They are the ones who created the alters. I think what caused them was the same thing that caused the first one, it was like brainwashing. They convinced me and I didn't easily believe it, that it was true. I told them multiple times, repeating it over and over again "Dissociative Identity Disorder does not exist and I do not have it". But you have to understand that I was one mind, one measly patient, against dozens of professionals who claimed otherwise. And I was stuck on that unit for 5 weeks. Day in and day out I was fed the same stuff. And it wasn't just the top-notch psychiatrists, the residents, the nurses, the therapists and socials workers and art therapists and music therapists telling me this was a real disorder, there were thirty patients around me all playing the game and so at some point I broke down and in order to keep my sanity we took my denial and gave it its own alter. I called it the denial alter, the one who never believed, it lived in order for me to escape this horrible abuse whenever I needed to. And when I did that, there was no escaping, anytime I thought "this just isn't true". I would follow it up with "says the denial alter". I felt like that denial alter was my one and only identity, and when I put it aside like that I opened my mind up to be fractured.

 How many alters did you have?


 I’ve heard people with “MPD/DID” say they have blackouts or periods of memory loss when being different alters. Did you?  If so, can you explain the cause of the blackouts?

I did and I didn't. I'm not sure that I can explain this well.  I was probably suffering from PTSD, from the cult and from the dissociative unit, and from all the horrible memories bombarding my head constantly and the fact that I had been in so many psychiatric wards, had been put in so many seclusion rooms, tied to so many beds, given so many chemical restraints, etc. I dissociated a lot.  My memory was like Swiss cheese constantly.  My memory may have also had issues, because of all the medications they were pumping into my system. I never, not ever lost "days at a time". They were aware that I didn't. I didn't go to bed and wake up in the grocery store. There were times I would get on the highway and come to 4 miles down the road, having missed my exit. There have always been questions about whether I have temporal lobe seizures, but EEGs won't confirm them. I stay on anti-seizure medications and I don't have them. So we think it's pretty clear what's happening. But these instances were always used against me to prove that I did in fact have DID. 

 Did your friends and family believe you had different personalities?  If so, why do you think they believed you?

My friends and family really didn't know that I had DID. I was pretty embarrassed about the diagnosis, so I kept it to myself.  

 Would you say you were acting?  Did it feel like acting?

This is tough for me to answer now looking back. In many ways they would ask me to play the part. I would start to dissociate per usual which often led to them asking questions like "who am I talking to"? It was hard because I was sitting there trying not to dissociate and at the same time trying to delay the questionings being fired at me to which I had no answer to give them. Which at the time I didn't know it, but by delaying my answering, it made it worse. By delaying my answering I would be fired at more, with more questioning "Who are you?" "Can you tell me your name?" "Why are you here?" "Were you sent to help Kim?" 
 It sounds like something out of a cheesy horror film about aliens.  It becomes terrifying to hear those lines of questioning. I would never give my therapist(s) names of my alters. I never felt like I was being honest if I did that. If what they said was true then they would have to hand me the names themselves from another alter they claimed existed, that told them, because I wasn't making them up.

Like I said previously I felt that I had set my own identity aside when I made the denial alter up. I think it's possible to fracture your mind, just not have multiple personalities. Not entire personalities. I think brainwashing can do this. I think hypnosis can do this.  It's a total lack of identity and will create the worst insanity imaginable, you are at the mercy of your doctors and therapists and they keep feeding you lies. 

 If you could say one thing to yourself at that time, what would it be?

Doctors aren't always right. Even doctors with prestige. 

 What made you stop believing you had multiple personalities? 

I found it as truth for myself. I had to look inside myself and really understand that none of this could be true and then stop listening to doctors. I came to realize that I knew myself better than they did, even if they claimed otherwise. 

 Are multiple personalities real?


Poppy, U.K.

When did you start to exhibit alternate personalities(alters), and what do you think caused them?

I went to my GP, who sent me to a private therapist, as the NHS wait would have been six months. I had no idea the therapist specialised in dissociation and MPD. This was 1992. When I first started seeing this therapist, I told her my childhood was fine. My mistake was to say I couldn’t remember under five years of age. The therapist became convinced I had been abused under five years of age, that’s why I couldn’t remember it. This is when I was handed “The Courage to Heal”, which states you don’t need to remember your abuse - if you have a feeling you were abused you were. This is when I was told I was MPD and I started to develop the idea of alters, with the use of the book and confirmation from the therapist. I developed alters.

How many alters did you have?

I thought I had three, one girl, one boy and one who didn’t know whether they were a boy or a girl.

I have heard people with MPD/DID say they have blackouts or periods of memory loss when being different alters. Did you? If so, can you explain the blackouts?
No, I didn’t, I just had normal lapses like we all do like, “Where are my keys?”, etc, and this was put down to dissociation.

Did friends or family believe you had different personalities? If so, why do you think they believed you?

No, I didn’t tell anyone outside the therapy world I was in. I wish I had told people what was going on in therapy.

Would you say you were acting? Did it feel like acting?

Not then, but when I look back, I can remember being in a group therapy session, and the therapist pointed out, “Look at Poppy, she is dissociating, she can’t hear me.” I could - I was just doing what she wanted me to do, I could hear her.  It wasn’t like acting - it didn’t affect me in the sense of how I behaved. I only had a picture inside of these 3 children. I had to keep them happy. They were all under 5 years of age (when abuse was supposed to have happened). I had a clear picture of them. When I came out of my false memories, they just disappeared. I was very sad - it was like losing part of me. I was never alone while they were there.
I just look at it now as though we all have these different parts of us. They aren’t alters -nothing like that - just different moods, even.

If you could say one thing to yourself at the time, what would it be?

Tell people what was going on in the therapy and hopefully they would have made me see sense and get out.

What made you stop believing you had multiple personalities?

I was in therapy for 15 years, and had been out of therapy for about 10. I had started to have doubts about what I had been told had happened to me in my childhood. I couldn’t remember anything wrong in my childhood before therapy, but I came out believing all this horrible stuff had happened. I now believe I was brainwashed to think I had been abused. I believe nothing happened at all. My husband became ill and I just started to think more about what I had been told, and I researched false memories. The more I did, the more I realised I had been given false memories.

Are multiple personalities real?

No, I believe they aren’t, but rather all in the minds of recovered memory therapists. Once I realised, I had false memories they went overnight. I had none of this before I entered therapy. I didn’t even know what abuse was.

An earlier version of this blog post was first published on
Updated on March 30 2019 by including a recent interview.

Friday, October 26, 2012

"9/11 Truth" Contradictions

"9/11 Truthers" would like us to believe a multitude of contradictory claims from their movement.

This is an edited compilation of examples of these contradictions put forward by the good folk at the James Randi Educational Foundation Forum's 9/11 Conspiracy Theories sub-forum, in a thread entitled "9/11 Conspiracy Contradictions and Inconsistencies":

NORAD stood down; Flight 93 was shot down.

Damning evidence of there being charges inside the towers is the numerous reports of explosions; Thermite (a non-explosive) reactions were used to weaken the steel beams.

The towers fell neatly within their own footprints, indicating controlled demolition; Heavy steel columns from the towers landed as far away as 600 feet, indicating controlled demolition.

9/11 enabled the US to invade Afghanistan so they could build a pipeline; Al Qaeda and the Taliban are puppets of the CIA/ISI (why the need to invade?).

The fact of controlled demolition is obvious from watching videos; The collapse was designed to not look like controlled demolition.

The announcement to tenants of WTC 2 that it was safe to remain in or go back to their offices was intended to maximize casualties; The fact that the first building was hit before 9:00 AM was intended to minimize casualties.

Firefighters and police officers were given a gag order not to talk about what they experienced in the towers on 9-11; Many firefighters and police officers have conducted interviews about what they went through.

Flight attendant Betty Ong should not be believed because she sounded too calm in her telephone call; Flight attendant Madeline Sweeney should not be believed because she did not sound calm enough in her telephone call.

Firefighters should be believed when they say that they heard explosions in the twin towers; Firefighters should not be believed when they say that they saw massive damage and fires on multiple floors in WTC7. 

It wouldn't be difficult for the government to keep a massive conspiracy like this completely secret; Conspiracy theorists have discovered the truth.

The conspirators were evil geniuses and faked the phone calls; The conspirators faked phone calls that were impossible at the time.

The Flight Data Recorders (FDRs) from the WTC were never found, the FBI made them disappear; The FDRs from the Pentagon and Shanksville, were found, the FBI planted them.

The east penthouse of WTC7 collapsed 8 seconds before the rest of the building, and this is a sign of controlled demolition; All of the supports failed at the same time, and this is a sign of controlled demolition.

The Pentagon FDR indicated a flyover; The Pentagon FDR was faked.

Steven Jones - credible when talking about thermite; Not credible, when talking about Pentagon (he believes a plane hit it).

Bush - credible when talking about New World Order stuff; Not credible when talking about 9/11.

Osama Bin Laden - credible when denying the attacks; Not credible when claiming responsibility of the attacks.

Eyewitness – credible when saying they saw no plane parts; Not credible when they say they saw a plane hit the Pentagon.

Flight 11 being caught on film is suspicious; Flight 77 not being caught on film is suspicious.

The evidence was whisked away before anyone could perform any investigation; Steven Jones has taken samples which show evidence of nanothermite.

The FDNY predicting 7's collapse is suspicious; The FDNY was not in on it.

The mainstream media (MSM) were in on it (e.g. the BBC reporting the WTC 7 collapse 20 minutes early and "blowing the script”); The MSM reported some of the hijackers were still alive after 9/11 (the BBC again).

Bin Laden worked for the CIA; The CIA used a “fake” Bin Laden in the video.

Everybody’s asleep; Everybody’s waking up.

The debunkers disrespect the victims’ families, but the families who said they spoke to their loved ones on the planes are too stupid to recognise faked voices.

The government-funded investigations were corrupt; We need a new government-funded investigation.

Cheney ordered that the Pentagon plane not be shot down; There was no Pentagon plane.

Hani Hanjour couldn’t have made the difficult manoeuvres in the Pentagon plane; There was no Pentagon plane.

Silverstein told an FDNY official to “pull it”; Silverstein never spoke to an FDNY official.

A firefighter said WTC 7’s going to "blow" so he had advance knowledge of the inside job; The firefighters weren’t part of the inside job.

WTC 7 must have been a controlled demolition because it wasn't hit by a plane; WTC1 & WTC2 were hit by planes and were controlled demolitions.

Thermite/thermate/nanotherm*te was used in order to disguise the demolitions by avoiding the sound of explosives; People heard explosives.


The last words go to Poetry Hound, who contributed the most examples of contradictions:

Who was behind 9/11? It was the Bush Administration! No wait! It was a rogue group of government officials! No wait! It was the NWO! No wait! It was the Jews! No wait! It was Halliburton and other defence contractors! No wait! It was the Vatican! No wait! It was the Illuminati! Aw, hell, it was all of ‘em!


Saturday, December 31, 2011

Earth is not crossing the galactic plane in 2012 and the sky is not falling

Earth is not crossing the galactic plane in 2012 and the sky is not falling

For over two years I debated New Agers about the 2012 myths. The main believer was a charming guy by the name of Arrgy. I, and some other skeptics tried to dispel his fears about 2012, and in return we were insulted and called names.

It was a fascinating discussion, at least on the part of the rationalists who provided data and evidence to back their claims. It was also an interesting study in how New Agers and doom merchants ignore facts that don’t fit in with their beliefs.

In this post, I thought I’d share two interesting exchanges with astronomers that arose due to of my involvement in that thread.

(Here’s the full, 59 page thread for anyone who’s interested:

Arrgy believes, even after being repeatedly proved wrong, that:

  • Earth will cross the galactic plane on December 21, 2012;
  • Potentially Hazardous Asteroids (PHAs) are increasing as we approach the Galactic Plane, endangering Earth.

We are not crossing the Galactic Plane in 2012 and PHAs are not increasing due to said crossing.

Most scientists and astronomers agree with the following paper that we last crossed the Galactic Plane around 3 million years ago, and we will not cross it again for about 30 million years.

In March 2011 I asked a friend working as an astronomer in China about that paper. Here's what he said:

Basically the Sun orbits the Galactic centre along with the rest of the disk stars, but they all move up and down in a oscillating fashion. At the moment the Sun is a little above the nominal plane of the disk and heading upwards. The idea behind this woo is that the nominal plane of the disk is a dense collection of stars and debris that greatly increases the chance of collision as we pass through it.

In reality the plane is only defined by the relative density of stars, and the nominal plane is the turnover point in this density gradient. The scale height of the Galactic disk is about 100 parsecs for the youngest thin disk population and about 700 parsecs for the older thin disk, although there's a range of values for star of different ages. In simple terms, the density decreases in a smooth logarithmic way as you move away from the nominal plane.

The scale height is the vertical distance from the Galactic plane over which the density decreases by a factor of e, the natural logarithm base. So the density of stars on the nominal Galactic plane is only e times larger than the density a few hundred parsecs above the nominal plane. There is no sudden density spike. There is no dense collection of debris to pass through, we simply get a bit closer (on average) to the other stars as we pass through the plane.

What the paper means by the term Solar vicinity is the area a few parsecs around the Sun, i.e. at or near the nominal plane. The last time we crossed the plane was about 3 million years ago, and we won't cross it again for about 20 to 30 million years. This periodicity does not correlate with terrestrial mass extinctions.


In April 2011 I contacted the Mt Lemmon SkyCenter (which has discovered the most PHAs):

Dear Mt Lemmon SkyCenter

A friend of mine thinks Earth will be crossing the galactic plane in 2012,
but as far as I can make out, this will not happen for around 30 million

He also thinks that more Potentially Hazardous Asteroids are being
discovered because we are nearing the galactic plane. But my research
suggests that more PHAs were being discovered due to new observatories and technologies tackling the subject, and that the Mt Lemmon Survey, who has discovered the most, is now finding less, according to this:

Could you tell me:

When will we cross the galactic plane?

Are there more PHAs in existence because of Earth's position in the galaxy,
or are we just getting better at detecting them?

Many thanks for your amazing work, and in anticipation of a reply.

Here's the reply:

My name is Ed Beshore. The Catalina Sky Survey (which
includes the Mt. Lemmon Survey, the original Catalina Sky Survey, and
the Siding Springs Survey) are my responsibility, so Adam
thought it might be best if I tried to answer your questions.

While I can't give you a precise time of crossing the galactic
plane, I can say confidently it will not do so as soon as 2012.
Right now, the Earth is about +2 deg north latitude in galactic coordinates,
and the Earth takes about 250M years to rotate around the
galaxy - so if Earth is going to cross the plane next year, we have
to move it! I think your estimate of ~30 M years sounds more

The reason we are discovering more PHAs is because we only started
looking in earnest about 10 years ago. Catalina's 1.5 m reflector,
one of the largest telescopes routinely searching for hazardous
asteroids, only began its work in 2005. We are getting
better at the job, and larger telescopes are getting involved as
well, and that explains the surge in PHA discoveries. Indeed,
most of the PHAs have been in orbit in the inner solar system
for many hundreds of thousands of years, independent of our position
with respect to the galactic plane.

Finally, the Sun's (and the solar system's) orbit around the
center of the Milky Way is close to circular and stays close to
the galactic plane. Any forces from the galaxy
on our environs are pretty near constant, so something like
crossing the plane of the galaxy should be a pretty
hum drum event.

I hope this helps.

Kind regards,

Ed Beshore

Edward Beshore, Senior Staff Scientist
Lunar and Planetary Laboratory and the Steward Observatory


If you’re interested in other rational explanations of 2012 myths, I highly recommend the following website:

Have a great, superstition-free year!

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Arnott's are not killing orangutans

Arnott's are NOT killing orangutans.

I read yesterday that the maker of Tim Tams, Arnott's Australia, are endangering orangutans by using palm oil in their product(s).

This concerned me, especially since I read a National Geographic article a few months ago (about palm oil production's destruction of rainforests), and because I've been eating Arnott's' biscuits all my life.

So, I contacted Arnott's last night, asking them when they will be using sustainable palm oil in their Tim Tams. I have just received a reply. I'm not sure if I should post the whole thing, so in doubt, I will only post snippets.

Firstly, from the site I was shown: "The increased demand for palm oil, which is grown only in tropical environments, is fuelling destruction of the rainforest habitat of Sumatran and Bornean orangutans, pushing those endangered species even closer to extinction".

Arnott's say the palm oil they use is "currently sourced from peninsular Malaysia only" (not Borneo or Sumatra), "from land which has been used to produce palm oil or other agriculture crops for decades." Thus, it's not endangering orangutans. Phew! I love Tim Tams!

Secondly (and this relates to Arnott's' total use of palm oil in all their products, not just Tim Tams): "While Arnott's Australia New Zealand (ANZ) uses only a small amount (less than 0.05%) of the total 40 million metric tonnes1 of palm oil produced annually [...] [f]rom August 2010, Arnott's ANZ will decrease its current palm oil usage by approximately 25 percent by replacing palm oil with alternative oils across a number of products."

Furthermore: "Working closely with its palm oil supplier, who is an active member of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO), Arnott's ANZ is targeting the use of 100% certified sustainable palm oil, if available, by 2015. Commencing 2011, the Company will take a gradual approach to achieving this target, shifting around 20% of its supply each year, if available, to certified sustainable palm oil."

Yay, Arnott's!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Da Twoof is Faith-Based.

I just came across a good summary of the main Twoofer "scientists", by Edmund Standing.

I particularly liked his conclusion:

"In reality, there is no more evidence for the claim that 9/11 was an 'inside job' than there is that God created the world in six days, that the Holocaust never happened, that Jesus walked in America, or that an angel dictated the Qur'an to Muhammad. These are faith based positions, and to attempt to claim there are credible 'scientific' reasons for embracing conspiracies about the September 11th attacks is an insult both to real science and to the memory of those who died on that day."

Twoofers, like Creationists, use myths to explain myths. Creationists have their God of the Gaps; Twoofers have the mythical New World Order to explain the holes in their arguments. For example, the mythical therm*te was planted by the NWO without anyone coming forward about it - "the witnesses were paid off by the NWO".

Other examples that are rife in the Twoof Movement: the NWO secretly must have "vanished" the AA77 plane passengers because "no plane hit the Pentagon"; the NWO removed AA77's parts from the Pentagon, somehow without anyone noticing. (Yet how can the NWO remove parts of a plane that, according to twoofers, didn't hit the Pentagon? Maybe the NWO can explain that, too. ;-) )

Contradictions upon myths upon myths upon delusions.

Saturday, May 05, 2007

How to lose a debate on 9/11 conspiracy theories

Have fun with your fantasy! Next time you're trying to assert that 9/11 was an inside job, mark this Bingo scorecard, and when you have used 5 fallacious arguments in a row, you'll know when to back down in defeat. (Or you can go and use the same argument in another forum, having not learned anything, as you do.)

The kind and clever poster Minadin (from the James Randi Educational Foundation's forum) helped me create it, using my Truther Credo as a guide. Thankyou , Minadin.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

The 9/11 Truther Credo

The 9/11 Truther Credo.

a.k.a.: The 9/11 TWOOfer Credo

Inspired by (and text in blue shamelessly stolen from) The Woo-Woo Credo.

Google “9/11 truth”. Think, “Wooooo”. Keep clicking on googlebombed links. Think, “Woo” some more. Refer to your googling as “real research”. Keep thinking, “Woo”.

Connect the dots. Read about “holes in the official story”. Make leaps to conclusions between one “hole” and another. Those dots just don’t connect themselves, you know.

Never look for the simplest, most obvious cause of something. Refrain from mentioning Occam's Razor (it's your nemesis). Instead, use Smacco’s Razor. “It couldn’t have been 19 hijackers – it must have been one big, corrupt gubmint/media.”

Fight strawmen valiantly. Repeatedly state that 9/11 was not caused by “Arabs in caves”, and that burning jet fuel alone did not bring down the buildings. Accuse your opponents of being George Bush-lovers, and dismiss their evidence accordingly.

Misuse technical terms as often as possible. The terms “squib” and “pyroclastic flow” are your friends.

Use one myth to support another myth.
“They were going to create a false-flag operation (Northwoods) in the Sixties therefore 9/11 was an inside job”.
“Oswald didn’t kill Kennedy therefore 9/11 was an inside job”.
“9/11 was an inside job therefore anyone who disagrees with me is a disinformation agent”.
“The “New World Order” is a group of shadowy masterminds who control every government and fake every world event, therefore 9/11 was a false-flag psy-op.”
"The Holocaust did not happen so 9/11 was an inside job." "The hijackers were cokeheads and Osama was mortally ill therefore the US gubmint orchestrated 9/11".

Smoke weed copiously, or act like you do. You can never have enough paranoia and crazy thoughts.

Embrace paranoia. When someone uses facts to prove one of your claims wrong, call them a “disinformation agent”, “shill”, or say that they are “spinning”.

Always claim that the other guy is "closed-minded" and that you're as free-thinking as a newborn baby. Other woo-woos love the concept of "open-mindedness" and will take you into their inner circle without question. They have no tolerance for those "mean old nasty" types who demand evidence for everything.

You must believe that the word "anomaly" means proof of sinister gubmint activity.

Use the word "anomaly" as often as possible. If you can’t spell it, say ‘holes in the official story’.
Pontificate, use diatribe and rhetoric. Call your opponents, “sheeple” and urge them to “wake up”. They may have gone to sleep during your rants. They also need urging to “connect the dots” as you have.

Don’t investigate or talk to the organisations you accuse of conspiracy to murder. Post a picture of men in uniforms at the Pentagon or Shanksville and say they were “in on it” or “planting evidence” then walk away.

The few eyewitness reports which you have quotemined are worth much more than the thousands of eyewitness reports that don’t support your beliefs.

Use Caps-Lock in the word “TRUTH” wherever possible, or at least capitalize the first letter of “Truth”. Better still, SHOUT TO GET YOUR POINT ACROSS. Bystanders may be as easily swayed as you are, you hope.

Call the “official story” (the scientific, evidence-based, professional investigation and conclusion) the “official conspiracy theory” so that easily swayed people will, in one fell swoop, stop using logic, science and evidence to analyse the material.

Call yourself a “skeptic”, so that easily swayed people will, in one fell swoop, think you are using logic, science and evidence in your discussion.

Accuse your opponent of being a liar, or try some other tactic that will (hopefully) make him angry. If he responds in kind to your endless taunts, change the subject to his anger, and accuse him of name calling. If he accuses you of provoking him, then you have changed the subject of the debate. If he stays on topic, keep the heat up. The Believers in the audience will forgive the worst verbal attacks you use, but they will think even the mildest replies he makes to you are personal attacks that undermine his argument.

Change the subject. When discussing the WTC, quote the reports of loud explosions and Steven Jones’ theory of therm*te, and then when someone points out those quotes are incompatible, refer to or post a long cut’n’pasted article from about Bush needing to be impeached.

Use incredulity.
Re: WTC7:
“I can’t believe that a WTC building not hit by a plane collapsed!”
So WTC1 & 2 collapsed?
“Er, no, they had to be demolished too.”

Ask questions. That makes it look as though you’ve done some thinking (or parroting).

Ignore answers. Keep asking the same questions. Think, “Wooooo”. It’s fun to say, “Wooooo”. 9/11 is all about fun, right? And feeling like you’re doing some “real research” and investigation. Because. They’re. Never. Going. To. Re-open. 9/11. Based. On. Your. “Investigation”.

Have inflated self-esteem. “All the structural engineers in the world are wrong, but I know the TRUTH”. Remember, 9/11 is all about you proving you are not a pseudo-Einstein but the true heir to his throne.

Derail. In discussion forums, when others are discussing a topic, introduce a 9/11 twoof-related question. When someone replies with a quick debunk, make a huge post uploading all your brain’s delusions, and expect everyone to debunk them succinctly yet in depth, and to not refer to physics, engineering, FEMA, NIST, etc, or 9/11 Myths, Popular Mechanics, Mark Roberts, Wikipedia, etc, etc. When they try, accuse them of being disinformation agents. If they don’t try, claim you’ve proven the “inside job”.

Obstinately insist that 9/11 was an inside job, but do not name any names, organisations or methodologies as to how it was carried out, then claim you pity the victims’ families but do not perceive either how you are reopening old wounds or how you wish to rip their world apart again based on a few dumb questions.


The following are contributions to the Credo from members of the JREF forum:

Once your "obvious" "common sense" has been shown to be insane gibberish, create a sock puppet, and then make the exact same arguments, but this time claim you can't use "common sense", you MUST use physics! Accuse anyone using "common sense" of being a small-minded idiot sheeple. But be sure to never, ever, actually use any physics (or math! Blech!). Just make broad claims about "physics states this" and "physics dictates that".
- Horatius

Don’t bother searching past threads and topics to see what issues have been discussed previously - your evidence is rock solid and anyone who sees it can’t help but be convinced of an inside job. Since the folks you are engaging don’t believe in an inside job, they could not have seen the evidence you have.
- defaultdot.xbe

Never engage people who respond politely and factually. Only engage those who are clearly irritated with having rebutted the same tripe over and over. Then complain that they have resorted to taunts and insults because they can't rebut your claims.
- TjW

Any professional qualifications you or your fellow conspiracists have can be misrepresented, bolstered or simply plucked from thin air during a debate. Remember - the shills have the entire NWO apparatus on their side; you're allowed some leeway too.
- NickUK

Never post on topic - when backed into a corner change the subject. This prevents any subject from being resolved and allows debunked material to be recycled.Bring up previously debunked material. This cycle of the same material will prevent anyone from realizing that any one of the many theories lacks a cohesive narrative or makes sense globally.Treat all information and sources as equal. Youtube, AFP, other conspiracy sites, are equal to the NYT, scientific reports, and expert opinion. Anyone who disagrees is calling your sources liars.Never answer questions - your job is to ask the questions. This allows you to keep enough control of the debate to prevent the house of cards from falling all around you. Ban anyone who asks too many logical questions from your forums.
- Kage.

The news is controlled, unless you like the story.Government officials are liars, unless you like what they say.Use your own assumptions to prove your theory (i.e., you can ignore all government reports because the government did it).FACT typed in caps means “not even remotely true” [but Believers will fall for it]. Self-contradiction? OK! When in doubt, smear.
- Perry Logan

Always bring up USS Liberty as proof the US government kills its own people. When someone points out that the Israelis did it, say that was a "false flag" attack orchestrated by Lyndon Johnson. Accuse firefighters, cops, EMS techs, and rescue workers as being part of the conspiracy, afraid to speak the truth for fear of their jobs and lives. When called out on this gross insult, say you're really on the side of the firefighters, cops, and EMS techs.Offer no proof as to how the evil conspirators are able to hold thousands of cops, firefighters, and EMS techs in fear of their lives over not speaking the truth about the murder of their brothers in uniform.Declare every piece of evidence against you as being a forgery or a fraud. But don't explain who does the forgery, and how it was done, with no slip-ups. Insist that all official investigations are whitewashes, but don't explain how they should be done instead. Argue that the Bush administration planned 9/11 perfectly, but ignore the fact that they hosed up the search for Weapons of Mass Destruction in Iraq beyond all measure. Insist that there is no possibility of anything in the world happening as the result of chance, luck, weather, or other random elements. Everything that has ever been happened in human history is controlled by sinister forces who have not left any kind of paper or human trail. Repeat ad nauseum.
- Kiwiwriter

From the Bad Astronomy & Universe Today forum:

Accuse all skeptics of any nationality of either being dumb deluded Americans or working for the secret U.S. Disinformation agency.
- Sigma_Orionis; Van Rijn

And finally,

Obstinately insist that 9/11 was an inside job, but do not name any names, organisations or methodologies as to how it was carried out. Claim you pity the victims’ families but do not perceive either how you are reopening old wounds or how you wish to rip their world apart again based on a few dumb questions.

- Orphia Nay.