Carl Sagan's Baloney Detection Kit : LUSENET : TimeBomb 2000 (Y2000) : One Thread

I ran across Carl Sagan's Baloney Dectection Kit which I think everyone should read. In fact, it might not hurt to print out a copy and have it handy next to your computer. Here's a link to a site which has a more complete copy of the kit. BDK

I think that the tools in this kit should be applied to arguments from doomers and pollies alike -- no one has a patent on baloney.

The kit is presented at the bottom of the page at the link above. I've clipped it out and if the formatting works you can read it below. In fact it may print out better than the link, which has a colored background.

"The Fine Art of Baloney Detection," by Carl Sagan

What's in the kit? Tools for skeptical thinking.

What skeptical thinking boils down to is the means to construct, and to understand, a reasoned argument and -- especially important -- to recognize a fallacious or fraudulent argument. The question is not whether we like the conclusion that emerges out of a train of reasoning, but whether the conclusion follows from the premise or starting point and whether that premise is true.

Among the tools:

Wherever possible there must be independent confirmation of the "facts."

Encourage substantive debate on the evidence by knowledgeable proponents of all points of view.

Arguments from authority carry little weight -- "authorities" have made mistakes in the past. They will do so again in the future. Perhaps a better way to say it is that in science there are no authorities; at most, there are experts.

Spin more than one hypothesis. If there's something to be explained, think of all the different ways in which it could be explained. Then think of tests by which you might systematically disprove each of the alternatives. What survives, the hypothesis that resists disproof in this Darwinian selection among "multiple working hypotheses," has a much better chance of being the right answer than if you had simply run with the first idea that caught your fancy.*

* NOTE: This is a problem that affects jury trials. Retrospective studies show that some jurors make up their minds very early -- perhaps during opening arguments -- and then retain the evidence that seems to support their initial impressions and reject the contrary evidence. The method of alternative working hypotheses is not running in their heads.

Try not to get overly attached to a hypothesis just because it's yours. It's only a way station in the pursuit of knowledge. Ask yourself why you like the idea. Compare it fairly with the alternatives. See if you can find reasons for rejecting it. If you don't, others will.

Quantify. If whatever it is you're explaining has some measure, some numerical quantity attached to it, you'll be much better able to discriminate among competing hypotheses. What is vague and qualitative is open to many explanations. Of course there are truths to be sought in the many qualitative issues we are obliged to confront, but finding them is more challenging.

If there's a chain of argument, every link in the chain must work (including the premise) -- not just most of them.

Occam's Razor. This convenient rule-of-thumb urges us when faced with two hypotheses that explain the data equally well to choose the simpler.

Always ask whether the hypothesis can be, at least in principle, falsified. Propositions that are untestable, unfalsifiable are not worth much. Consider the grand idea that our Universe and everything in it is just an elementary particle -- an electron, say -- in a much bigger Cosmos. But if we can never acquire information from outside our Universe, is not the idea incapable of disproof? You must be able to check assertions out. Inveterate skeptics must be given the chance to follow your reasoning, to duplicate your experiments and see if they get the same result.

The reliance on carefully designed and controlled experiments is key, as I tried to stress earlier. We will not learn much from mere contemplation. It is tempting to rest content with the first candidate explanation we can think of. One is much better than none. But what happens if we can invent several? How do we decide among them? We don't. We let experiment do it. Francis Bacon provided the classic reason:

Argumentation cannot suffice for the discovery of new work, since the subtlety of Nature is greater many times than the subtlety of argument.

Control experiments are essential. If, for example, a new medicine is alleged to cure a disease 20 percent of the time, we must make sure that a control population, taking a dummy sugar pill which as far as the subjects know might be the new drug, does not also experience spontaneous remission of the disease 20 percent of the time.

Variables must be separated. Suppose you're seasick, and given both an acupressure bracelet and 50 milligrams of meclizine. You find the unpleasantness vanishes. What did it -- the bracelet or the pill? You can tell only if you take the one without the other, next time you're seasick. Now imagine that you're not so dedicated to science as to be willing to be seasick. Then you won't separate the variables. You'll take both remedies again. You've achieved the desired practical result; further knowledge, you might say, is not worth the discomfort of attaining it.

Often the experiment must be done "double-blind," so that those hoping for a certain finding are not in the potentially compromising position of evaluating the results. In testing a new medicine, for example, you might want the physicians who determine which patients' symptoms are relieved not to know which patients have been given the new drug. The knowledge might influence their decision, even if only unconsciously. Instead the list of those who experienced remission of symptoms can be compared with the list of those who got the new drug, each independently ascertained. Then you can determine what correlation exists. Or in conducting a police lineup or photo identification, the officer in charge should not know who the prime suspect is, so as not consciously or unconsciously to influence the witness. In addition to teaching us what to do when evaluating a claim to knowledge, any good baloney detection kit must also teach us what not to do. It helps us recognize the most common and perilous fallacies of logic and rhetoric. Many good examples can be found in religion and politics, because their practitioners are so often obliged to justify two contradictory propositions. Among these fallacies are:

ad hominem -- Latin for "to the man," attacking the arguer and not the argument (e.g., The Reverend Dr. Smith is a known Biblical fundamentalist, so her objections to evolution need not be taken seriously);

argument from authority (e.g., President Richard Nixon should be re-elected because he has a secret plan to end the war in Southeast Asia -- but because it was secret, there was no way for the electorate to evaluate it on its merits; the argument amounted to trusting him because he was President: a mistake, as it turned out);

argument from adverse consequences (e.g., A God meting out punishment and reward must exist, because if He didn't, society would be much more lawless and dangerous -- perhaps even ungovernable.* Or: The defendant in a widely publicized murder trial must be found guilty; otherwise, it will be an encouragement for other men to murder their wives);

* NOTE: A more cynical formulation by the Roman historian Polybius: Since the masses of the people are inconstant, full of unruly desires, passionate, and reckless of consequences, they must be filled with fears to keep them in order. The ancients did well, therefore, to invent gods, and the belief in punishment after death.

appeal to ignorance -- the claim that whatever has not been proved false must be true, and vice versa (e.g., There is no compelling evidence that UFOs are not visiting the Earth; therefore UFOs exist -- and there is intelligent life elsewhere in the Universe. Or: There may be seventy kazillion other worlds, but not one is known to have the moral advancement of the Earth, so we're still central to the Universe.) This impatience with ambiguity can be criticized in the phrase: absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

special pleading, often to rescue a proposition in deep rhetorical trouble (e.g., How can a merciful God condemn future generations to torment because, against orders, one woman induced one man to eat an apple? Special plead: you don't understand the subtle Doctrine of Free Will. Or: How can there be an equally godlike Father, Son, and Holy Ghost in the same Person? Special plead: You don't understand the Divine Mystery of the Trinity. Or: How could God permit the followers of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam -- each in their own way enjoined to heroic measures of loving kindness and compassion -- to have perpetrated so much cruelty for so long? Special plead: You don't understand Free Will again. And anyway, God moves in mysterious ways.)

begging the question, also called assuming the answer (e.g., We must institute the death penalty to discourage violent crime. But does the violent crime rate in fact fall when the death penalty is imposed? Or: The stock market fell yesterday because of a technical adjustment and profit-taking by investors -- but is there any independent evidence for the causal role of "adjustment" and profit-taking; have we learned anything at all from this purported explanation?);

observational selection, also called the enumeration of favorable circumstances, or as the philosopher Francis Bacon described it, counting the hits and forgetting the misses (e.g., A state boasts of the Presidents it has produced, but is silent on its serial killers); *

* NOTE: A My favorite example is this story, told about the Italian physicist Enrico Fermi, newly arrived on American shores, enlisted in the Manhattan nuclear weapons Project, and brought face-to-face in the midst of World War II with U.S. flag officers. So-and-so is a great general, he was told. What is the definition of a great general? Fermi characteristically asked. I guess it's a general who's won many consecutive battles. How many? After some back and forth, they settled on five. What fraction of American generals are great? After some more back and forth, they settled on a few percent. But imagine, Fermi rejoined, that there is no such thing as a great general, that all armies are equally matched, and that winning a battle is purely a matter of chance. Then the chance of winning one battle is one out of two, or 1/2, two battles l/4, three l/8, four l/16, and five consecutive battles 1/32 -- which is about 3 percent. You would expect a few percent of American generals to win five consecutive battles -- purely by chance. Now, has any of them won ten consecutive battles ...?

statistics of small numbers -- a close relative of observational selection (e.g., "They say 1 out of every 5 people is Chinese. How is this possible? I know hundreds of people, and none of them is Chinese. Yours truly." Or: "I've thrown three sevens in a row. Tonight I can't lose."); misunderstanding of the nature of statistics (e.g., President Dwight Eisenhower expressing astonishment and alarm on discovering that fully half of all Americans have below average intelligence);

inconsistency (e.g., Prudently plan for the worst of which a potential military adversary is capable, but thriftily ignore scientific projections on environmental dangers because they're not "proved." Or: Attribute the declining life expectancy in the former Soviet Union to the failures of communism many years ago, but never attribute the high infant mortality rate in the United States (now highest of the major industrial nations) to the failures of capitalism. Or: Consider it reasonable for the Universe to continue to exist forever into the future, but judge absurd the possibility that it has infinite duration into the past);

non sequitur -- Latin for "It doesn't follow" (e.g., Our nation will prevail because God is great. But nearly every nation pretends this to be true; the German formulation was "Gott mit uns"). Often those falling into the non sequitur fallacy have simply failed to recognize alternative possibilities;

post hoc, ergo propter hoc -- Latin for "It happened after, so it was caused by" (e.g., Jaime Cardinal Sin, Archbishop of Manila: "I know of ... a 26-year-old who looks 60 because she takes [contraceptive] pills." Or: Before women got the vote, there were no nuclear weapons);

excluded middle, or false dichotomy -- considering only the two extremes in a continuum of intermediate possibilities (e.g., "Sure, take his side; my husband's perfect; I'm always wrong." Or: "Either you love your country or you hate it." Or: "If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the problem");

short-term vs. long-term -- a subset of the excluded middle, but so important I've pulled it out for special attention (e.g., We can't afford programs to feed malnourished children and educate pre-school kids. We need to urgently deal with crime on the streets. Or: Why explore space or ursue fundamental science when we have so huge a budget deficit?);

slippery slope, related to excluded middle (e.g., If we allow abortion in the first weeks of pregnancy, it will be impossible to prevent the killing of a full-term infant. Or, conversely: If the state prohibits abortion even in the ninth month, it will soon be telling us what to do with our bodies around the time of conception);

confusion of correlation and causation (e.g., A survey shows that more college graduates are homosexual than those with lesser education; therefore education makes people gay. Or: Andean earthquakes are correlated with closest approaches of the planet Uranus; therefore -- despite the absence of any such correlation for the nearer, more massive planet Jupiter -- the latter causes the former); *

* NOTE: Children who watch violent TV programs tend to be more violent when they grow up. But did the TV cause the violence, or do violent children preferentially enjoy watching violent programs? Very likely both are true. Commercial defenders of TV violence argue that anyone can distinguish between television and reality. But Saturday morning children's programs now average 25 acts of violence per hour. At the very least this desensitizes young children to aggression and random cruelty. And if impressionable adults can have false memories implanted in their brains, what are we implanting in our children when we expose them to some 100,000 acts of violence before they graduate from elementary school?

Knowing the existence of such logical and rhetorical fallacies rounds out our toolkit. Like all tools, the baloney detection kit can be misused, applied out of context, or even employed as a rote alternative to thinking. But applied judiciously, it can make all the difference in the world -- not least in evaluating our own arguments before we present them to others.

-- Mikey2k (, January 22, 2000


Even though I always thought Mr Sagan was a bit out in left field, there is no denying his intelligence. This is a great post. Thanks!

-- Irving (, January 22, 2000.

Excellent points; a bit ironic however because Carl Sagan (1934-1996) generated billions and billions of slices of baloney himself.

Another good baloney detector is always to ask a simple one-word question--WHY?

-- Lars (, January 22, 2000.

More thoughts on "baloney detection" Like maybe we take a second- look at the insanity of the failed "Drug War"? Maybe take a second look at why medical marijuana is illegal? Maybe take a second look at why Industrial Hemp is still illegal?

(Naah....forget it. That's all baloney!!!

"What are you doing!!??? Trying to make us Feel Better!????"

Verbatim quote from Interviewer's in response to Ed Asner discussing how to end-world hunger, and how it could be solved.

======== 100% KOSHER BALONEY ===========

Biographer says Carl Sagan drew inspiration from marijuana August 22, 1999 Web posted at: 6:42 AM EDT (1042 GMT)

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- The late astronomer and author Carl Sagan was a secret but avid marijuana smoker, crediting it with inspiring essays and scientific insight, according to Sagan's biographer.

Using the pseudonym "Mr. X", Sagan wrote about his pot smoking in an essay published in the 1971 book "Reconsidering Marijuana." The book's editor, Lester Grinspoon, recently disclosed the secret to Sagan's biographer, Keay Davidson.

Davidson, a writer for the San Francisco Examiner, revealed the marijuana use in an article published in the newspaper's magazine Sunday. "Carl Sagan: A Life" is due out in October.

"I find that today a single joint is enough to get me high ... in one movie theater recently I found I could get high just by inhaling the cannabis smoke which permeated the theater," wrote Sagan, who authored popular science books such as "Cosmos," "Contact," and "The Dragons of Eden."

In the essay, Sagan said marijuana inspired some of his intellectual work.

"I can remember one occasion, taking a shower with my wife while high, in which I had an idea on the origins and invalidities of racism in terms of gaussian distribution curves," wrote the former Cornell University professor. "I wrote the curves in soap on the shower wall, and went to write the idea down.

Sagan also wrote that pot enhanced his experience of food, particularly potatoes, music and sex.

Grinspoon, Sagan's closest friend for 30 years, said Sagan's marijuana use is evidence against the notion that marijuana makes people less ambitious.

"He was certainly highly motivated to work, to contribute," said Grinspoon, a psychiatry professor at Harvard University.

Grinspoon is an advocate of decriminalizing marijuana.

Ann Druyan, Sagan's former wife, is a director of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. The nonprofit group promotes legalization of marijuana. Sagan died of pneumonia in 1996. He was 62.


Yeah. You bet it's about time to get the Baloney Detector out! Don't you agree?

(Personally, I think Carl Sagan should be exhumed and ARRESTED!!! We can't let him get away with that...he need's to be PUNISHED!!!)


Get educated. Teach responsibility.

-- Steve Meyers (, January 22, 2000.

Dear Mr. Irving & Lars, to give us a complete assessment? I can see that you are very clear on "where Carl Sagan is at". Now, can you fill us all in on how "far out in left field" you might possible be? And can Mr. Lars give us some reasonable estimate of much BALONEY he has generated, in what time frame?

I need some emperical evidence so I can make an accurate assesment as to "who is ahead" and "looking better". I think this is very important to determine. Completing this initial phase of my research will allow me to answer the question which is burning in my Heart:


-- Steve (, January 22, 2000.

"Mommy? WHY do people tear each other down? Why don't they look at what is best about someone, and focus in on that, build on that...instead of always tearing them down?"

Mikey 6th Grade

-- Mieky (Mikey@LikesIT!.com), January 22, 2000.

"Well Honey, the easiest thing to do is to be vague, cast general statements around with no supporting information whatsoever, and do so behind their back. However Mikey, the best way to do this is wait until they are 'pushing-up-the-daisy's...when they are no longer around to defend themself."

Mikey: "But WHY Ma?!@"

Mom: "Well see, it makes them feel more important."

Mikey: " i get it."


"Yes Dear..."

"Can I go out and play now?"

"Sure honey...just be nice to people, ok? Have fun."

"Ok Ma...see ya!"

-- MiKeY (Mikey@LiksIt!.com), January 22, 2000.

Fair enough. My impressions of Dr Sagan were always visceral---he struck me as more of a huckster than a scientist. I was never impressed by his arguments for the origin of life being a "primordial soup". To me, that explains nothing--where did the primordial soup come from? (maybe primordial Campbell's). Anyway, I agree with his thoughts on baloney detection.

-- Lars (, January 22, 2000.

Hi Mr. Lars!

I'm glad you could come out and play. Guess what else my Mommy told me? She said, sometimes you have to use your imagination, just to think of new things, and you shouldn't be afraid to use the wonderful brains God gave you. And you can explore and play and wonder about this wonderful world we live in. And that it's a VERY Big Mystery...and there's all kinds of ways to look and wonder about things. She said that it's OK with God, and you don't have to be perfect, or try to impress anybody. Just use your imagination.

Besides Mr. Mommy is always right.

What do you wonder about Mr. Lars? And what do you think it might be? I love stories...don't you??

MiKeY 6th Grade

-- MiKeY (MiKey@LiksIt!.com), January 22, 2000.

Mr. Lars,

I'm sorry. I can't really read that good yet. but wheN i grow Up..i will. I liked that, "Where does the Primordial Soup come From?"

Cambells? U r Funny! MiKeY Likes It!!

Thanks mR. Lars. I guess you r Ok after all. See how eazy it is to get along? CAN (get it?) you give me some ideas on where it might all have come from? I'm trying to write a paper for my tEacher.

For instaNce, wHere do worms come from Mr. Lars? DiD theY start in the ground? Or diD somebody put them there?

-- MiKeY (MiKey@LiksIT!.com), January 22, 2000.


My post was a response to Steve's post. I forgot to address it to him.

Curious--why the 'tude?

FWIW--Lars is my first name

-- Lars (, January 22, 2000.

--the main problem I see on this board and others as regards "baloney" is that this is virtual reality. Detractors of this or that view can acuse and demand "proof", but this is just a collectiuon of individuals staring at a screen full of electrons, that excite some photons. There is no "proof" other than links to other screens full of electrons and photons. This is something the trolls don't get. They just can't get it through their heads that they have been asked politely to cease and desist, to go elsewhere. Which leads me to a few conclusions, ie, that some of the trolls are professional disinformation agents, some of the trolls just want to pump up their egos, and most of the trolls are really very cruel sadists, they engage in a form of "cyber stalking". It doesn't matter the eloquence of speech, or lack of it. It's still wrong. and it doesn't matter if it's a "GI" or a "DGI" doing the trolling, once a poster uses inflammatory personal attacks, they have left debate, and entered into "cyber stalking" illegal and immoral behavior. "Free Speech" as is alluded to by some trolls refers to the born with freedoms we have to speak free from GOVERNMENTAL interference. Free speech doesn't apply if someone is in your home and is using "fighting words". "Fighting words" has a legal definition-at least in my state- and is cause for self defense, either on an individual right then-case, or later as in a civil or criminal action.

That's my "baloney" detector. I have some extreme conspiratorial views, and other views on a variety of subjects. I post on them. I don't single out any individual to insult or threaten, though. this appears to be the big problem on bulletin boards. those who can engage in heateed debate, and those who personally attack. the personal attackers should be banned, using whatever methods available, my opinion. Let all views be heard in civil manner. You can still be quite emotional and strong in your convictions without crossing the line into a personal attack. Satire, allusions, allegory, etc are all legitimate debate tactics, as long as that's as far as it goes,if further, then it goes straight to a more sinister agenda, and my "baloney" detector goes off. Example-I think our president is just wrong, on any number of issues. Sometimes I refer to him as "King"-an obvious satirical reference that underscores my views that I think he acts like a dictator. However, I have never threatened him. No "baloney" there. I personally think that some forms of "chemtrail" spraying are going on. Only "proof" I have to offer in an electronic/photonic form is the sum total of my writings over a few years on the web, my word, and what I report. Anyone is quite free to disagree with me, or any other "anecdotal" reports or conclusions, but as soon as I see a "disagreeer" switch to outright cruel ridicule, my "baloney" detector goes off, and I immediately think that the person is a paid disinfo specialist, or merely indulging in sadism of an electronic kind. No matter how "intellectual" the post might be. Intellectual sadism is rampant in society, cruelty is very common. and frequently, it is also the public visual front of even darker thoughts and actual deeds.

Just in past few days a little girl was found murdered in Atlanta area. She had been lured off of a chatroom in "cyberspace" by a predator apparently. It would be interesting to ever find out if the murderer engaged in "other" types of crime on the net, really interesting indeed.

Everyone is free to make up their own minds on whatever. and they also can exercise self control, too. The trolls try to make up someone elses mind, and tread where they are not invited. That makes them criminals in civilized society.

-- zog (, January 22, 2000.

Steve...thanks for the question. My take on Carl Sagan was that he always appeared to me as the ultimate nutty professor. Mind you, that is NOT an insult! I have never denied or degraded his obvious high level of intelligence. IMHO, he emerged in later years as the pop culture representative of the scientific community. If my memory serves me, I believe he appeared on the "Tonight" show with Johnny Carson a number of times.

Bottom line, a very intelligent man, very interesting, but quirky. I thought the Baloney Detector was both timely and appropriate to this forum.

Any other questions???

-- Irving (, January 22, 2000.

Hey Lars!!

Wazza 'ude? i neveR exactly heArd what that is befor.

Sorry if i came across not nice. I guess I'm just tired of seeing all the adults hurt each other here all the time. It just doesn't feel good to me and i don't know why. Ever notice they never even give something a chance to sink in, before some bully comes in to step on them? Say something mean? Seems to me like they just go off on a side trip, and never listen to what the person was saying in teh first place.

Im sorry if I hurt your feeling Lars, but was just trying to say what was on my mind. If somebody got 2 know u, i bet u ar a pretty nifty most people when u really get to know them...ya know?

Steve? Oh...he's my older brother. he lets me play on his comuputer sometimes and says "Let 'em have it Mikey...u tell em!" sometimes he helps me too and we ha ve fun.

Still u trying 2 avoiding my question? Where DO worms come from?

mee? i think somebody placed them here from someplace else. How else could they get in there? you sEE?

-- MiKeY (MiKey@LiksIT!.com), January 22, 2000.

Hey Irv,

Not that that little brat let me use my own computer, yes I felt at times that Carl got caught in the world of Academia; sometimes i got mad at him for being so closed minded about the ET situation. But overall, i think Carl added a whole bunch more to the world than he took away. And if that's what a 'pot head does'...then I think its time we stop criminalizing these people, like Peter McWilliams, and Steve Kuby and start getting honest about where our real 'drug' problems are: all the chemicals we are putting into the body of Planet Earth, and I think that's a much bigger and much more important problem to address...intelligently, honestly...and with compassion.

Hey! Move OVER Rover!! (MiKeY talkin now)

"I agree!!!"

(thanks MiKeY, for letting us know your feelings on the matter. Kool dude. keep on trukin Bro.)

-- Steve (, January 22, 2000.

MiKeY liKes ZOG!!! zzog...u should know ur Xtra Keen-0!!! He's fun! He's smART! I seen his stuff before elsewhere on this playground...and he REALLy plAys HARD! I think he's one of the best ball kickers around!!!

so is Hokie...i like her. mmmmmmmmmm! yummie! got any toyz Hokie?

-- MiKeY (MiKeY@LiksIT!.com), January 22, 2000.

Mikey says, "If you wanna know where the real Baloney is...just look at what our government is doing! THAT is what the Baloney Detector shoud be pointed at!~ MiKeY says, they have so much, you could make enough snadwiches to reach to the moon.....and back!!"

-- MiKeY (MiKeY@liksIT!.com), January 22, 2000.


...just don't forget. Don't put *everybody( in same basket at once, cause there are lots of good people in government too, and in the military, and they are just as concerned about what is going on these days as you are. Lots of people are concerned, lots of people care about their families and friends. So, don't alienate those that might be your allys...that might help you in the kind of change you'd like to see in the world...ok? They are not all bad. You have to be fair, and judge people on their *individual merits* and not by putting 'labels' on them...ok dude? And yeah, you can't pretend there's not bully's at school, because they are the ones that are causing all the trouble, because they just don't care about anything. But don't go around puttin everybody in the same basket just cause u don't agree with them. Remember what mom told us?

Be nice...


"Now, you know where Ron is?"


"Well, what do you think happened to him?"

"I think he's off by himself kinda hurting inside Steve..."

"Well, don't you think that's long enough?"



"So what?"

"Well, so don't you think maybe he should come back, maybe invite him back so he can play? You never really know what happens to people, or makes them do what they do. All kinds of things we can't see but they are still there. You know, he wasn't *all* bad, don't you? I mean, don't you see that if he wasn't there, kinda playing the 'bad guy'...that prolly none of this would have happened the way it did?



"Ok.!!! Hey Ron.....r u still there? Wanna come out and play? Nobody's perfect, not me, not you...not nobody. But that's ok, isn't it?"

As long as everybody learned sumthing...isn't that what makes it ok?

Ron...maybe u know where worms come from? How they got there? I think Lars is still trying to figure it out...but that's ok.

MiKeY 6th Grade

-- MiKey (MiKey@LiksIt!.com), January 22, 2000.

Hey IrV! Jest tell me this fer instaNce: since u can see 'quirks' so good, what kinda quirks u got too?? me? I got plenty...but thats what makes most people idfferent. Like ME! How bout u? Got some quirks u'd lke to share? Quirks is a pretty funny sounding name...huh?

by the way, what *does* 'quirks' mean? Is zat like ducks or something? Ha ha ha! MiKeY Likes It!!! sometimez irv...quirks are Gates!!! (smile) Is he a quirk? Quirks are not all bad, are theY? R they like a Boogey Man?? Do i have to worried if they are under my bed when the lights go out??? where do they come from? same place as worms??

MiKey 6th Grade

-- MiKeY (MiKeY@LiksIT!.com), January 22, 2000.

Yo, Mikey,

You raise two points. I'll do my best:

1)- "'tude"- this is ebonics (black english) for "attitude", usually meaning a negative or hostile attitude, as represented by the rap group (former rap group?) NWA. Why do I think you know this?

2)- "where do worms come from?". From their mommy? I think Carl Sagan would say they derive from the primordial soup, as if that explained anything. To me, the primordial soup "answer" just leads to more questions.

I believe that we are created by God. Period. I no longer question further. I believe in science and its ability to explain some of God's truths. But I see science as peeling an infinite onion; revealing truths one layer at a time, and never explaining everything.

So Mikey, I hope that helps with your paper. Good luck in the 7th grade.

-- Lars (, January 22, 2000.

Hey Lars!!!

yup...everyone see's God's creation in their own wayz, and it's just amazing. I bet even God is amazed! I think it helps Him/Her keep from getting bored, cause Forever is a verry long time i think.

Im sorry if what i said had any 'tude on it dude; sometimes i can't see outside myself and i really didn't mean or intend any kinda 'tude a U. promiSe.

Now, i been thinkin' real hard wherr 'quirks' come from...and i betcha (your fav perrie marble) that quirks are inside people!! and then, sorta compared to what they know, people we kinda put them on other people - say, the same way we play "Pin the Tail on The Donkey!" at scHool. I'm not really sure quirks about somebody exist until somebody puts 'em on somebody else. Course, that's just what iT loOKs like to me, and what do I know......? I'm only a kid.

I dunno, what do u think? Do quirks really exist objectively, unless somebody thinks of somebOdy else that way? I always thought quirks was just sometHIng that never were, until somebody brought it up from the way *tHey* see things...but seems they never make that clear when they saY it. ThaT they are really just sayin that someone doEs'nt confrom, or fit into exaclty what they expect...but they thinK th e quirk is outside THEM. And they cAn see how quirks are in soembody else pretty good, but they don't seem to be able to see quirks inside THeM just as well. It's a funny thing...adults...huh?

WhAt some peeple cal quirks others call interesting, and others call it i really don't know which one it really is, and i hope my teacher doesn't ask that quesiton on a tEst.

AnYway...would u sAy God has quirks too? just depending on whos' looking? so many strange thingz in this here Universe...some times i think th e who tHing isjust one Big Quirk!

pretty good answer about the worms too! I forgot about that...we all do come from our Mom, huh? So where did GoD comE from?

just wondering, and its nice to tAlk wiTH you Lars...! Zat mean I'm quirky 'cause I think like that? everthing sounds like a rhyme to me...dunno why.

More later Lars. i thinK they need a goalee now, and I'm the only one dumb enough to stand in front oF the nEt...but it's fun...!

-- MyKeY (MiKey@LiksIt!.com), January 22, 2000.

For the benefit of the young Mikey...I would define a quirk as an unusual character trait. It certainly is NOT derogatory in any way, shape or form. Hell, I'm quirky too...we all are, in our own way.

I have not set myself up as the final arbiter of Carl Sagan's contribution to humanity. My opinions about his work and formidable intellect are already posted on this thread.

I might add a line that is a favorite, but unfortunately not original to me..."Only one perfect man ever walked this Earth, and look what his critics did to him."

Maybe in 7th grade...nah...they don't teach stuff like that anymore.

-- Irving (, January 22, 2000.

Micky2k .... Don't confuse me with the ' facts '; my mind is made up ! All THIS is just a rerun from another time and another dimention , so there are no " new " ideas to be substantiated OR refuted !! Checkmate !!! Eagle

-- Hal Walker (, January 22, 2000.

I'd rather have a bottle in front of me than have a frontal lobotomy

-- (, January 22, 2000.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

Zog rules!

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), January 23, 2000.

Hi Lars!! (MiKeY here...)

I been reaDin' this over and over, tryin to fiGure it oUT:

"Only one perfect man ever walked this Earth, and look what his critics did to him."

ThaT sCares me LaRS. ReaL scaRy. I woulD NEvER invite Aanybody to pLay on a pLaygroud like tHAT. Why do peOple do THAT LaRs???

iT just seems it's a maTTer of degree. If ur ar REAL perFect...they wiLL NAIL YOU. But if yoU are 'not quite so PerFect'...thEn they just taKe little 'swiPes' at you...but it'S realLy all the same thing to me. I doN't this it was becauSe JeSus was 'perfect' was beCause he was I guEss thATs what theY didN't like. hE didN't fiT in...he was 'uNusual'.

Semms They just do'nt LiKe sOme thinG aboUt thEm - jUst cause someboDy aRe not the sAme as eveRy body elSe. BuT I thought 'unusual' was whAt maDe uS all Unique?? Did JeSus say, "Cherish One Another...Love One Another".

Iz it lovinG poiNt out thAt somebody is a Quirk??

And i thoUght jeSuS saiD, "theRe are maNy mansionS in my FaThers House." WhAt does THAT meAn LaRs??

Oh Goody!!! Look what I found Lars!!! look at THIs Quirky thing about Carl:

"My parents died years ago. I was very close to them. I still miss them terribly. I know I always will. I long to believe that their essence, their personalities, what I loved so much about them, are -- really and truly -- still in existence somewhere. I wouldn't ask very much, just five or ten minutes a year, say, to tell them about their grandchildren, to catch them up on the latest news, to remind them that I love them. There's a part of me -- no matter how childish it sounds -- that wonders how they are. "Is everything all right?" I want to ask. The last words I found myself saying to my father, at the moment of his death, were "Take care." (carl sagan)

Iz that JeSus would have sAid Lars??

MiKeY thiNks most everyBody who Talks about God juSt talks it...but thEy doN't reallY *act iT* liKe tHey meAn EveRy liTTle waY. I beT JeSus and gOD liKe CaRl. I tHink the MOST ImPortanT Thing about CaRl is thaT he waS a caRing maN...thaT's the mostEst imPortant quIRk abouT the maN...veRy unuSual, huh?

Anyway..u miGht waNt to see wHat mY older BroTher sTeve wrote To the Indian aBouT God's Love.

I guess hte 'tude u thoUght was tHere waz just sadneSS at how peoPle go righT back to samE old stuff...even afTer everytHing just happeNed with Ron. If tHey wer e in My TeaChers class...they'd haVe to staY after School for being mean to Others.

MiKeY 6th Grde

-- MikeY (MiKey@LiksIT!.com), January 23, 2000.

PS. Go ZoG! Go!!! MiKeY Likes ZOG!!!!

-- MiKeY LiKes 2 pLay (MiKeY@LiksIT!.com), January 23, 2000.

Lars!! could I hAve missed this? Silly Goose Me!!

Above you said,

"I believe that we are created by God. Period.

I no longer question further."

Lars...u know what? I BELIEVE you.

(Thanx 4 beiNg so clear!! Most adults are soooo vague about eveRything)

Me?? I questioN EverYthing. ThaTs what my Teacher tolD me to do. She's realLy smart. still, I like U Lars. also, U said worms come from their Mommy...right.

weLL, this prettY Lady once said, "Consider this idea MiKeY...just ponder it. OK? U don't haVe to have 'an answer'. Here'r the riddle Mr. Lars:

"My Goddess gave birth to your God..."

what quirKy thing to say!!! ha ha HA! MiKeY LIKeS IT!!!

'K Lars...! I have to go now. Time to go learn some morE...i have lotS of thingz to learN. Cause my tEacher said "Often times the question is more important than the aNnswers MiKeY."

I'm sorRy u lost youR questions Lars cause theY help us to see thiNgs in new wayz; sometimes deeper wayz.

But don't worry, mayBe u can find them again someDay. God doesn't give-up on anYbody. isn't that Nice??

Lars...iz God a man? Or a Woman?

-- MiKeY (MiKeY@LiksIT!.com), January 23, 2000.

Uh oh...I got anotHer QUEST-I-ON. I hoPe i don't get spanked 4 asking.

But fiRst: Mikey2K-he Did u notice R names are almosT the same?? Keen!! i guess it was just chance ouR Mommys thoughT the same way...huh?

Anyway MikEy2K, is my talK with Lars 'reasoNed?' like what Carl waz talkin' about above?

That was Really gooD article u shared with everyBody! I got excited and told my TeaCher about it, and She said, "That was a very wise man who brought that to everyone's attention, and the Man who wrote it too" It jusT amazes me how smart she is about everyThing.

anyway...just wanted to thanK Mikey2 very much. I don't know why, but I like ur name. Quirky...huh?

Last thing before I go oUt to play again. I don't know why ""

This MikeY LIKES it!! and THAT i don't question... MMMMMMMMM! Lucky me!!!

see u 'round the Playground..! (Where's Zog?)

-- MiKeY Liks 2 Play (MiKey@LiksIT!.com), January 23, 2000.


Sorry I havn't answered sooner. My folks took us to Disney World for the weekend. I didn't much like it---people wearing cartoon character masks with frozen smiles are kinda creepy.

My mom says I can't play with you anymore. She was very angry when she caught you sniffing my sister's bicycle seat,

I'm sorry to hear that you did not get promoted to the 7th grade. Again.

A rhetorical question for you this time---what is the sound of one hand clapping?

-- Lars (, January 24, 2000.

What is the sound of one hand clapping?

A closed mind Lars?

Just one way of thinking about things...then expecting everybody to conform to that one and only way??? You know...kinda like each church in the world, damming *everybody else* for not believing the way they do? So if you ask all of them, they all pointing at each others saying "YOU! are going to go to hell!" Since everyone one of them think they are right...I guess they are right! So I guess that means they are are going to hell together in each others eyes...that sound like one hand clapping. Ha Ha HA! MiKeY LiKes IT! lets see here...ummm...sound 'da one hand clappin'?

Well, how bout there is no outside to Self? can anything be 'outside' of God...if everything IS God. Event the things you don't like Lars...they are goD too ...aren't they? Or is that just in God's Eyez?

Who said anything about sniffin a girls bicycle seat Lars? You never saw the commercial? MiKeY eats CEREAL Lars!!! quirky. Member what i said about 'quirks' being inside someone, until they put it on somEthing? Well, i was thinKing CEREAL which everybody knows MiKeY likes to eat....that's why i was confuses why Mikey2 DIDn'T like to eat it...see?

So, all i can deduce from that Mr. the sniffin the girls bicycle seat is in YOUR Mind Mr. Lars, cause I never said anything about that...did i? You should watcH television more often, then U'd know What MiKeY likes to eat!! MikEY also likes to eat BaloNey, like in snanwinches.

So if sNiffin is in youR mind Lars, why would that upset your Mommy of all PeoPle? Doesn't she Love u and accept you for the way u r? I'm confoozd now. I thought just being Natural the way god made us was what waz supposed to be...

now...lesse see hand clapping? One hand clapping could be to think that what is inside your the only thing there is? and not putting it together with everybody else to make a biggeR sound toegther?

One hand clapping wouln't make much noise...kinda seems like it would just be flailing one arM in the air...all by itself...huh?

I you had to have two hands Lars to clap...thats kinda what i see when i see people happy and clapping their what kinda question is that? member whAT my Teacher said about questions? How important theY are? She said, "You even have to question the question MikEy...cause not all questions make sense...and there really aren't answers to some of them." She said, sure, anaybody can string a bunch of words together,but that doesn't mean they mean anything always.

I'm stumPed LaRs...what IS the sound of one hand clapping?

Always being fully honest in one's intention....could be one hand clapping....huh?

geee..that is such a good question Lars, causus there is so many ways to answer it... or is there just one and only one way to anser that?

i really dunno...u got some good answers to thaT Lars??? this is kinda keen...

Why would someone want 2 sniff a bicyCle seat Lars? Sheesh! that right where people sit! no thanks Mr. Lars...i don't think MiKey would like that game. But I reallY don't care if some one else does...if it makes 'em happy and they are not hurting other people Mr. Lars...seems ok to me, but seems kinda "quirky" in My way of looking at things...but I don't mean bicycle seats are bad just cause they get sniffed. kinda silly little thing,....Huh?

Why get up set at that?

-- MiKeY (MiKeY@liksIT!.com), January 24, 2000.

Lil guy,

I'm not enjoying this colloquy. I don't think you are either but I do leave you with the last word, if you want it.

Best regards,

Lars from Mars

-- Lars (, January 25, 2000.

oK Lars...whatever u say is o.K. wiTh me. ok? I haD fUn learning and thanx 4 taking the time to taLk that u Did. RealLy, caUse look wHat came out of iT all. I really sorry if u feEl bad; i didn't mean that at aLL.

i don'T meaN to try to have 'last word'...just reSpect to anser u. I hOpe we r oK???

God loves uS aLL Lars...tHat i beleive.


MiKeY 6th Grade

-- MiKeY (, January 26, 2000.

From: Y2K, ` la Carte by Dancr (pic), near Monterey, California

diEtEr? Is that you?

-- Dancr (addy.available@my.webpage), January 26, 2000.


R u still projecTin??

u know that God is an intercontinental ballistic __________ don'T u?

See!! i toLd ya sO! (smile)

-- MiKeY (Mikey@HeLiksIT!.com), January 28, 2000.

It's Steve Meyers the lunatic pothead motormouth net-stalking harasser.

-- Sluggo (sluggo@your.head), January 28, 2000.

oh Sluggo...!!

u R SO Slow...! U mean, u *just* figured that out!? After I told everybody two days *befor* U posted that? ah Ha Ha Ha!!!

Sluggoo...u r SO eveN amazes ME!

MiKeY thiNks Sluggoo is sick in 'De Head! In fAct, hE KNoWS So!!

Go 'poo' somE place eLse Sluggoo....cauz u stink - wHerE eveR u go!

aH hA HA HA HA!!!

-- MiKeY (MiKey@LiksIT!.See?.com), February 05, 2000.

If readeR would like 2 seE "lunatic pothead motormouth net-stalking harasser" Just KICK Sluggo's butt-through-the-Wall...oh my!...phlueeze DO viSit:

CaUze U Wn't see Sluggoo leave THAt link...anYwhere!!! buT he *wilL* leave hiS little 'buRp-tuRds' EVERyWHERE!!! tHat whAt make sluggoo a BIG maN! hE just prtend liKe aLL thaT suff ain'T there...cause he NeVer bring 2 ur atteNtion to LeT u know whoLe PicTure!!!

SlugGoo?? WhY, hE juSt biG 'Scardy CaT'...that's aLL!

-- MiKeY (MiKey@LiksIT!.See?), February 05, 2000.

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