Suspect comfort:
Sometimes for amusement I write fiction.  Nobody thinks I’m much good at it, but I enjoy the process, laborious though it is.  So last night I saw a Time-Life Book Mysteries of the Universe, and I thought there might be some plot material in it. 

Let me be clear.  I am no skeptic when it comes to things spooky; I am a convinced non-believer.  I have evidence nobody else has.  It’s my work, most of which appears on this site.  The issue of kinship and fertility is of such momentous importance and such enormous emotional charge that if there were any effective supernatural or extra-terrestrial mechanism in the world it could hardly be indifferent.  It would take no effort for such a thing either to stop me or help me.  Neither has happened.  Sometimes material has come to hand that has been most helpful, but everything I see is also seen by vast numbers of others without evident impact; it wasn’t directed at me.

Still, writing fiction is just for fun so I read it.  I would not discourage you from doing so.  It’s a diverting enough read.  At first I was about to toss it aside.  The cases always began with something with a potentially spooky explanation only for that to be debunked.  It seemed to me that the whole point was to say, “There’s nothing out there that we don’t understand.”  Ah, but if this is true, why do I regularly read scientific reports that this mystery or that has at least been explained away?  They never seem to say, “And this was the last mystery.”

But I continued and indeed as the pages turn the writer(s?) become a bit more relaxed and start to have more fun with it.  Initially it seemed to be part of a general pattern of reassurance, which when it proves false is far from reassuring. 

For instance there was once a picture that many fancied showed a huge face carved into the Martian landscape.  Sure.  Maybe it was and maybe not.  But when they went and got a high resolution image of it there was nothing odd, just rocky terrain.  But I am a professional at interpreting images so I looked twice.  For one thing, it was obvious that the image had been doctored with a computer in such way as to suppress information that could relate to a face-like carving.  Things on that scale had been suppressed and only the fine detail showed.  Even obvious craters with crystal clear margins looked very flat.  For a second thing, the picture was published upside down.  They didn’t put their best talent on it, did they?  I’m a disbeliever, but somebody up there is too worried to play it straight with us.

Ebola infection is in the news.  It’s most tragic.  There was an article that listed ten viral infections that are scarier.  That shouldn’t have taken much effort.  Reach for a copy of Dr. Dan Onion’s handbook of internal medicine.  It’s all right there.  There are lots of things that kill more people than does Ebola. 

On the other hand, I understand that now there is a part of the city of Monrovia that is on lockdown quarantine.  50,000 people are being held at gunpoint.  Sound’s to me like somebody’s scared.  But they tell us not to be scared. 

And of course the biggie is demographic.  There is a federally funded web site, General Social Survey, I once played with.  They would ask a lot of people a lot of questions so you could do things like ask whether people who went to church regularly had more children.  (I didn’t ask.)  And the data base would summon the numbers, crunch them and give you the answer.

Massively cool, eh?  And one of the questions was, “How many of your grandparents were born in the US?”  That would be invaluable for scoping out how the generation that fought WW II was doing in terms of reproductive success.  And it would tell you a bit about how immigrants compared.  Of course you’d want to follow it for many years in order to get a trend.  The question was pulled after two years.  Somebody doesn’t want us to ask that question. 

So, my friends, and you are my friends, don’t look to the public forum to do your thinking for you.  After all, I take it that all of you are intelligent and have the hope for the welfare of every living human in your hearts.  If not, please drop me a line and elaborate.  It’s the dull mean spirited ones that have to be reached eventually.  I know nothing about what motivates them.  Nor do I know what motivates you, oh best of the best.  I would be happy to hear from you, too.

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