Radio Freethinker

Vancouver's Number 1 Skeptical Podcast and Radio Show

Posts Tagged ‘conspiracy theories’

Radio Freethinker Episode 207 – Digital Rights Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on April 16, 2013

x1pueufNURTyipYazgRMI_YIicqpYzVM2ICbQuLfnvgL2DfkBGp9Fviphufh-Awu1z0sUCmN3p1oBtlrlOMRdGBvYtWZU45cOW_A2lJAf2B1jQ2opExpPDMmQ

This week:
– Crazy Polling,
– The Parliamentary Budget Office – pillar of democracy
, and
– Digital Media Rights and Wrongs,

Download the episode here!

——————————————————————————————————————–

Crazy Polling

images (1)We talk about a spectacularly bizarre and time disturbing  poll from the USA showing, for example, how many people voted Obama believe he WAS the Antichrist. Don makes a case that the poll proves Shape-shifting Reptilian overlords may really exist!

Find out more:

The Parliamentary Budget Office – pillar of democracy

Picture 27Canada’s first Parliamentary Budget Officer has recently stepped down. It is likely that his office will be “wound down” because it proved to be too embarrassing for the Harper Government even though it was the Conservative Governments own creation. We discuss what it did, why it did it and  why you should care.

Find out more:

Digital Media Rights and Wrongs

steal_this_comicEA used Digital Rights Management (DRM) to ensure no one pirated its new SimCity game resulting in a horrible PR disaster. HBO felt proud that Game of Thrones was the most pirated TV show in history. We discuss the issue of DRM, digital piracy and the impact of commerce. We also discuss the need to move beyond the “physical’ model and a ‘virtual or digital’ model of ownership…what does it mean when it cost nothing to produce another copy?

Find

——————————————————————————————————————–

Skeptic Highlights

TV Show Recommendation

Plebs

This week Don introduces us to a British Comedy Plebs. Its very funny, but you might have to watch it more than once.

Plebs follows the lives of three desperate young men from the lower classes as they try to partake in sexual intercourse, hold down jobs and climb the social ladder in the big city. Two are free men: Marcus and Stylax, who work in a scriptorium; the third leading character, Grumio, is their lazy slave with an attitude problem.

Philosophers’ Café

The benefits of cooperation

Moderator Dr. Mano Daniel discusses…well the benefits of cooperation. Daniel received his BA from Dalhousie University and his Masters and PhD from Waterloo University in Ontario. He is a philosophy instructor at Douglas College and has been a moderator since 2006.

When: Wednesday, April 17, 2013,  7–9 pm
Where: The Heritage Grill, 447 Columbia Street, New Westminster
Cost: Free

About women love lyrics in Russia in the 20th and 21st centuries

Moderator  Dr. Will Tesler discusses…well love lyrics in Russia. Tesler has a PhD in underwater acoustics and has worked with the Pacific Biological Station in Nanaimo. Will has been organizing the Russian-language café at the Richmond Public Library since 2006. The cafes are extremely well attended and Will is pleased that they provide an opportunity for Russian speakers to engage in intellectual discussions on a broad variety of topics

When: Thursday, April 18, 2013, 7 pm
Where: Brighouse Public Library, 7700 Minoru Gate, Richmond
Cost: Free

What on Earth?

As we acknowledge Earth Day 2013, what are the possibilities for more urban agriculture? What are the possible effects? Ross Moster, a founder of Village Vancouver (Metro’s urban sustainability organization) will join the discussion.

When:  Friday, April 19, 2013, 10:30 am–12 noon
Where: West Vancouver Memorial Library, Welsh Hall East, 1950 Marine Drive, West Vancouver
Cost: Free

CFI Presents

The Science of Vaccines: A Panel Discussion

 The panel will discuss the reasons why vaccines are one of the foundations of public health and take questions on the creation of vaccines, how they work, and more. The panel features Dr. Jamie Scott: Professor in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry and the Faculty of Health Sciences at SFU, Dr. David Scheifele: Director, Vaccine Evaluation Center (VEC) at BC Children’s Hospital and Professor of Pediatrics (Infectious Diseases) UBC, and Dr. Monika Naus: Medical Director, Immunization Programs & Vaccine Preventable Diseases, BCCDC. 

When:  Friday, April 26, 2013, 7:00 pm
Where: SFU Harbour Centre, Barrick Gold Lecture Room (Room #1700), Vancouver
Cost: Free but donation are welcome and joining CFI encouraged
LinkEvent Link Here

George Hrab at the Railway Club

In addition to the two hour set George is performing on stage at the Railway Club, there will be limited tickets available for a private reception in the back bar where you can meet and socialize with George and fellow attendees and even hear an acoustic set from George. You can purchase tickets at

When:  Sunday, April 28th 2013, 6:00 pm
Where: The Railway Club, 579 Dunsmuir St, Vancouver
Cost:  Free but donation are welcome and joining CFI encouraged
LinkEvent Link Here

Café Inquiry

To Offend or Not to Offend, That is the Question.

Much has been written recently about whether criticism of religion or religious doctrine should be considered off limits in public discourse, some even refer to it as racism. How far should we be allowed to go in our criticism of religion, and at what point does it slip into bigotry, racism or even criminal acts? Is religion even something that deserves protection under our Charter of rights and Freedoms?

Our April Cafe will be moderated by Pat O’Brien. Pat is on the board of directors of CFI Canada and has been active in the Canadian freethought movement for many years.

When: Friday, Apr 12th, 2013 @ 7:00 PM
Where: SFU Harbour Center, Labatt Hall (Room #1520), Vancouver
Cost: Free
LinkEvent Link Here

Imagine no Religion 3

The annual atheist skeptic conference in Kamloops is happening this May. It features a line up of speakers including Dan Dennett, Richard Carrier, Chris DiCarlo, Taslima Nasreen and more. I encourage you to register now.

When: May 17 to 19
Where: Kamloops Coast Hotel and Convention Centre, Kamloops
Cost: $349.00
LinkEvent Link Here

Posted in Show notes | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

New Agora Uncovers Terrible Link Between Autism and Vanishing Bees!

Posted by Ethan Clow on May 7, 2012

The other day I was at a nice indy coffee shop and I picked up the latest edition of “The New Agora” It’s one of those hip, free, indy, newspapers that circulate around Vancouver offering the news that those fatcats in the mainstream press don’t want you to know.

The website for the paper has much to say in the About section, for example:

” All of us here working with The New Agora intend to live up to the responsibilities inherent in the work of truth tellers and truth showers.  Our hearts are demanding that we offer a larger perspective on what’s happening in the world, unbiased yet participant, balanced and personal, true and loving.

Truth must be told.  Some stories need to see the light of day.  Long ago the printed page served just such a purpose.  In this day of mass media controlled awareness it remains a potentially vital however rarified outlet for the voice of the People to be heard.

<snip>

…Cooperation is the antidote to the disease called ‘Corporation’ currently afflicting humanity with its paradigm of homicidal selfishness.”

Anyway, I have nothing against the leftist mentality described here. It’s the counter balance to the fear mongering far right and I’m sure they offer some interesting perspectives on social issues. Where I do take issue is with their rather shabby reporting on science and or skeptical issues.

The headlines that dotted the cover of the May issue of The New Agora included such gems as:

“Intelligent Energy”

“Cancer Free Life”

“Empowered Children of the Future” and “Dissolving the Matrix”.

I know, I went “What? What? What? and What??” too.

Reading through some of the articles I found myself face palming so much that I was in danger of causing severe nose and forehead cave-in-itus.

Some of the most demonstrable health fear mongering came from a contributor named Ethan Huff, this fellow Ethan however has some rather choice words for mainstream news. In one article he wrote about gardening he writes:

“Modern industrial agriculture is a disastrous failure, as it defies practically every natural law related to food cultivation…”

At least we can appreciate the hyperbole but then I saw his next article entitled “Vaccination Theory Crumbles”

Sigh.

So flipping to a different page we find this gem “Radiation Warnings you Won’t Get From Mainstream Media” (it was also typed in bold red letters in case it wasn’t scary enough) But at least this is an accurate title. You won’t get these radiation warnings from mainstream media, well maybe Fox News…

So as I was reading this article, in which they attest that radiation levels of seaweed on the west coast of Canada were contaminated with Cesium, a radioactive material. It also alleges that Canada and the US are buying radioactive seafood from Japan (for some reason) and goes on to say water samples on the west coast all show signs of unsafe radiation. In fact the article also urges readers (IN ALL CAPS) to “question the origin of ALL seafood. ” and that “rainfall and snowfall are all radiated.” As well as to not drink water from the tap as “your faucet has NOT been treated to rid it of radioactive particles.”

If that hasn’t got you sufficiently terrorized, wait to you see the next big headline:

“Autism and Disappearing Bees: A Common Denominator?”

That’s what it really said, I didn’t make that up.

The paper then takes a turn from ludicrously bad science reporting to vaguely transphobic pseudo science with an article “Are Boys Turning in to Girls Because of Man Made Chemicals?” by someone called only “Dak” Here’s a quote:

“Recently we are seeing accelerated puberty in young girls, an alarming increase in the men with extremely low sperm counts and transgender phenomenon growing at alarming pace.”

So I could go but obviously we all have better things to do with our time than wade through this garbage. But as an example of the kind of pseudo-science that exists out there for the conspiracy driven, leftist movements, this really shows that we often bemoan the crazy on the far right, but there’s just as much crazy on the far left too.

Posted in Blogs, Ethan's Blogs | Tagged: , , , | 2 Comments »

Radio Freethinker Episode 158 – Citing Canada Edition

Posted by Don McLenaghen on March 20, 2012

This week  Selling Canadian Science, NASA sued by ‘Intelligent’ Design, St. Patrick’s day and Don’s interview with Tony Sobrado – Part 2(of 3), conspiracy theories as political ideology.

Download the episode here!

Topics:

Harper Government plan to make NRC more business friendly!

Two part talk, first it turns out in raw science Canada punched well above its weight class. Although only producing about 1/10 the papers in science as the USA or UK, our papers are cited more. We have the most influential scientist in the world based on citations…and that is everything in the world of academia.
On this topic, word has come out from Ottawa about an ongoing effort to transform the National Research Council’s directions. The NRC is a government agency that funds the majority of research in Canada. The Harper government would like to see the agency focus less on “blue sky” projects and develop a ‘concierge’ or “1-800 number” service for businesses. We take a short and balance look at how this could affect our place in the science community.

Find out more:

CFI newly “Elected” board of directors

We review the new members and the slow but steady move towards democratic governance and CFI.

Find out more:

NASA Sued by “Intelligent” Design

NASA is facing a lawsuit by David Coppedge. Coppedge claims religious discrimination and wrongful dismissal when he was laid off during recent NASA budget cuts. We examine his claim and its implications for NASA, the work place and the possibility of legally imposing ‘intelligent’ design.

Find out more:

St. Patrick’s Day Debate?

We have an interesting discussion about the origins of St. Patrick’s Day and should we as atheist celebrate a Catholic Feast Day? Ethan also questions if the holiday as we now have perpetuating ‘racist’ stereotypes of the Irish.

 

Find out more:

Tony Sobrado interview Part 2 – Conspiracy theory as political ideology

This week we start a three part series with Tony Sobrado. Tony Sabrado Tony is a research analyst and social scientist currently based in London. Author of the soon to be published book “Who rules the world: An analysis to conspiracy theory”. He also contributes to the Huffington Post.

Part 2 – We define what a conspiracy is, the sociological history of conspiracy theory and the frame-work Tony has developed to help analyse conspiracy theories from a social/political science perspective.

Learn more about Tony Sobrado:

Skeptical Highlights:

It’s Wrong to Wreck the World: Climate Change and the Moral Obligation to the Future

Kathleen Dean Moore, co-founder of the Spring Creek Project for Ideas, Nature, and the Written Word and professor of Philosophy at Oregon State University, will talk on the importance of viewing climate change as a moral crisis and taking a moral response towards the issue.
<From the poster>
“In our generation, as Thomas Berry writes, we have done to the Earth what no previous generation has done, because they lacked the technological power, and what no future generation will be able to do, because the planet will never again be so beautiful or abundant. In the process, we have degraded, and perhaps changed forever, the great systems that sustain our lives. This is a scientific and technological crisis, assuredly.  But it is fundamentally a moral crisis, and it calls for a moral response. Why has climate-change science elicited such stunning indifference?  What calls us to act? How can we respond to the crisis in ways that honor duties of compassion, justice, and respect for human rights?  How can we discuss these values across differences?  How do we live, when we truly understand that we live in complete dependence on an Earth that is interconnected, interdependent, finite, resilient, and heart-breakingly beautiful?”

When: Wed. Mar. 21, 7pm,
Location: Alma VanDusen Room, Vancouver Public Library
Cost: Free
SFU Continuing Studies in Science and Environment Lecture Series

Seeing the Strings: Capitalism and You

Our aim is to initiate meaningful deliberation in Vancouver around how capitalism operates, and its reliance on both visible and invisible forms of domination and exploitation in order to function.

Each event will be split into three equally important components that will work to build both personal and community-wide understanding of the topics.
First, a discussion will explore the themes of the event within a historical and theoretical context. This will create a system-wide explanation or “big picture,” demonstrating not only what the specific form of oppression addressed is, but also how it operates within capitalism.
Then, a second speaker will explore the topic in a historically present context, using examples from living communities to reveal the connections between past and present, theory and practice.
The third component of the night will be a participatory workshop, with strong facilitation, involving all attendees. There will be small group discussions with small or large group movement activities that will enable individuals to explore how the topic at hand functions in their own life, to learn about the experiences of others, and to see that oppression functions systemically, affecting everyone in different ways.

When: Fri. Mar. 23, 7pm,
Location: Alma VanDusen Room, Vancouver Public Library
Cost: By donation, no one turned away for lack of funds
Vancouver Media Co-op

University of Lethbridge new chair in Alt-Med

It was recently announced that the University of Lethbridge has received funds and is creating a chair of Complementary and Alternative Health Care.

This is more of a low-light than highlight but something to keep our eyes on. Recent moves in Canada, Australian and the USA by proponents of Alt-Med are intended to bring legitimacy by association where actually achieving scientific success as failed them.

Droog gift establishes Chair in alternative health care

Posted in Show notes | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

The Enduring Conspiracy: Protocols of the Elders of Zion

Posted by Ethan Clow on March 1, 2011

One of the oldest and most enduring conspiracy theories is the fraudulent document known as the Protocols of the Elders of Zion.

What are the Protocols? Where did they come from? Are they real? Who created them? These are the questions any good skeptic should be asking themselves. In reality, you’ve probably heard about the Protocols, perhaps in discussions of Nazi Germany, the Holocaust or conspiracy theories about Israel.

What you might not know is convoluted history of this fictitious document.

The Protocols were about 80 pages long and came in the form of a speech giving instructions and observations regarding a Jewish takeover of the world. These detailed plans required the destruction of all world powers, the placement of Jews in high places, the fomenting of class hatred, provoking wars, promotion of liberalism to undermine traditional values and loyalties.

When taken together, the Protocols are an elaborate manifesto with policies on foreign policy, security, armaments, monopolies, the press, tax policy and education. However, it’s clearly meant to be secret, the tone is brutally Machiavellian. It sounds like something out of an Orwellian dystopia.

Here are few snippets from the Protocols:

“It must be noted that men with bad instincts are more in number than the good, and therefore the best results in governing them are attained by violence and terrorization, and not by academic discussions.” – From Protocol 1

“Capital, if it is to co-operate untrammelled, must be free to establish a monopoly of industry and trade: this is already being put in execution by an unseen hand in all quarters of the world.” – From Protocol 5

“In countries known as progressive and enlightened we have created a senseless, filthy, abominable literature. For some time after our entrance to power we shall continue to encourage its existence in order to provide a telling relief by contrast to the speeches, party programme, which will be distributed from exalted quarters of ours.” – Protocol 14

(The full document can be read here along with several scholarly analyses.)

The Protocols emerged in Europe in the early 20th century while Europe was struggling to rebuild itself after the First World War. Shell-shocked, people were looking for someone to blame, and as usual, that meant “The Jews.”

So where did these Protocols supposedly come from? There is of course the real answer and the myth perpetuated by those of the extreme right wing.

The Protocols first appeared in Russia in 1903, published by the newspaper Znamaya. The myth states that they were recorded at the first Zionist Congress in Basal in 1897 and the Protocols themselves were spoken by Dr. Theodor Herzl (the father of zionism.) The Russian mystic Sergei Nilus included the Protocols as an appendix to his book, The Great in the Small: The Coming of the Anti-Christ and the Rule of Satan on Earth. By 1917, Nilus would go on to publish four editions of the Protocols in Russia. (Holocaust: A History, Deborah Dwork)

The edition that would go on to have the most effect was the German editor in 1919. This version was published by Ludwig Müller von Hausen. Likewise with the Russian version, he claimed that the Protocols were recorded at the Zionist Congress in August of 1897 in the Swiss city of Basal. During this conference, there were 24 secret sessions and at these sessions and there, Herzl gave the protocols to the attendees.

Afterwards, one of the transcribers was heading home and stopped in a Masonic Lodge (red flag) where an agent of the Russian Secret Police was, in exchange for a large sum of money, the Russian police officer was given one night to translate the documents. The translation was then taken back to Russia. (Voodoo Histories, David Aaronovitch)

Supposedly, that is where they were copied and discussed by the Russia, Sergei Nilus, who would later feature them in his book The Great in the Small in 1909. And would eventually find their way to von Hausen.

The Protocols were in high demand. They became common reading among the political and military leaders of Germany, perhaps because the content of the protocols seemed to cast blame for the first world war on the Jews, not the Germans.

It also had quite an effect on a 19 year old Heinrich Himmler who wrote [the protocols explained] “all and tells us against whom we must fight” in his diary.

But it wasn’t just Germany that the Protocols found acceptance, many reputable newspapers in France also praised the Protocols. As did Italian newspapers, and in Britain, the Protocols were published under the title The Jewish Peril It was received very favourable reviews and many newspapers and journals published the Protocols with other anti-Semitic tracts.

The Protocols soon spread to the US and found perhaps they’re biggest supporter, Henry Ford, founder  of Ford Motor Company, Mr. Ford found the Protocols shocking but enlightening.

Ford’s motives for embracing the Protocols are long and complicated. Ford was an extreme pacifist. He despised war and spoke vehemently against the United States entering the First World War. Like many in his day, Ford believed that war only profited banks and money lenders. As a private business man, he had no interest in such things. He also had no time for Bolshevism, which he also believed was behind the urging for war.

Ford was also an anti-Semitic and as a man of means, he decided to make his opinions known. He purchased a newspaper for the purpose of promoting the protocols and his anti-Semitism. The newspaper was called the Dearborn Independent. It soon had a readership of over 300,000. in 1920 and for 91 successive weeks, the Dearborn Independent started campaign on what it called “The International Jew: The World’s Foremost Problem” (Voodoo Histories, Aaronovitch)

It’s estimated Ford invested around 5 million personally into this project and it sold half a million in America. The legacy of this was felt worldwide, in fact Ford is the only American mentioned in Mein Kampf by Hitler, who was said to have “revered” Ford for his work.

So where did they come from? What’s the real truth?

The Protocols appear to be an example of what is called a “false document” meaning, it’s a work of fiction that has been made to appear to be non-fiction and this was done not as an expression of art, but rather with deceptive intentions.

It’s also an example of literary forgery.

In the 1930’s a German academic discovered some similarities between the Protocols and a work of fiction called “Biarritz” (English To Sedan ) and it was published in 1868 – 30 years before the First Congress of Zionism was even held.

In the book, written by a conservative German journalist, Hermann Goedsche, a group of Jewish leaders meet in the Jewish cemetery in Prague (the oldest in Europe) There are representatives from the 12 tribes of Israel plus the devil, who plan and discuss their objectives for world domination.

This chapter went on to be printed on its own several times in Russia in 1872 as a pamphlet with a forward saying that although it was fiction, it represented the truth. In 1881 it was published in France as The Rabbi’s Speech and consolidated all the evil plans for the 12 representatives into one speech from one Rabbi, and was supposedly a real speech given around the tomb of Grand Master Caleb, supposedly observed by an English diplomat named Sir John Readclif, which coincidently was the pen name of one Hermann Goedsche!

The connection between the Protocols and the Rabbi’s speech wasn’t enough to convince people that something misleading was happening. The structure and philosophical similarities between the two documents could have been coincidence.

However, a journalist from the London Times, who was the paper’s Constantinople correspondent decided to do some digging after the Times ran a very positive review of the Protocols.

Phillip Graves, the journalist in question, had a number of connections with Russian informants, one in particular who revealed a book written in French, from about the 1860’s or 1870’s. The book was discovered to be the work of a French lawyer named Maurice Joly.

Amazingly, the Protocols appeared to be a poorly plagiarized version of this book! Whole sections were paraphrased or in some cases, direct copy.

The book was Dialogues in Hell Between Machiavelli and Montesquieu and it wasn’t about the Jews at all. It was a political criticism of the corrupt rule of Napoleon the 3rd.

If one goes on Wikipedia, you can read side by side paragraphs from Protocols and Dialogues in Hell and see how they are practically word for word.

According to historian Norman Cohn, a total of 160 passages of Protocols (two fifths of the whole book) is lifted from Joly.

For a full timeline, tracking the real history of the Protocols, see the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum site here.

Further research implies that the Protocols may have emerged from a Russian secret police officer named Piotr Ivanovich Rachkovsky, who was also a known forger of newspaper articles. The Protocols could have been collected with bits from Joly and bits from Goedsche. Many historians believe the Protocols were meant to be Russian Monarchy propaganda, the Jews were depicted as revolutionaries and so this would draw support for keeping the Russian monarchy. In fact, the 1903 version of the protocols that appeared in Russia were for this exact purpose. (Holocaust, Dwork)

Czar Nicholas II even went on to praise the Russian secret police for their “discovery” of the Protocols and had them widely disseminated.  They also coincided with a Jewish pogrom that left thousands dead.

After much of this information came to light in the late 1920’s by journalists like Graves, support for the Protocols diminished. But then the Nazi’s came to power in 1933, and by then it was too late.

The Protocols stick around today as well. In fact many conspiracy theories that deal with world government, economics, world banks, liberalism , etc often when investigated and confronted, the evidence they put forward, often references back to the Protocols.

One of the guiding documents of Hamas, the Islamic Resistance Movement, is the Covenant, a 20 page long document outlining some of the doctrines Hamas endorses. The Covenant actually references the Protocols as evidence for its conspiracy theories about Israel and the Jews.

It’s an unfortunate state of affairs that even after all this time, the Protocols still find a eager audience. Perhaps most widely believed in the middle east. Over the years there have been a number of declarations from political leaders all over the Islamic word essentially stating full belief in the Protocols and what they claim about the Jews.

No one would deny that there are numerous and well documented issues between Israel and its Islamic neighbours, but to lump pseudo-history like the Protocols in with those legitimate problems only causes more tension to an already dangerous situation.

So what are we to do? The Protocols has been one of the most enduring and widely believed conspiracy theories in history. Our goal, as good skeptics, should be to educate ourselves and our friends and neighbours. Sitting back and hoping someone will get over their belief in the Protocols is exactly what its creators would like to see us do. We must confront this pseudo-history the same way we confront UFOology, creationism or alternative medicine. Extraordinary claims, even ones found in history, still require extraordinary evidence.

Posted in Blogs, Ethan's Blogs | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Chupacabra Revealed?

Posted by Ethan Clow on November 12, 2010

For over a decade a mysterious creature is thought to exist in North America, its name literally means “goat sucker”

Yes, Chupacabra. As we discussed in episode 88 of the show, the mystery of Chupacabra, if you could even call it a mystery, is solved.

First sighted in 1995 in Puerto Rico, but also seen in Mexico, and the United States, maybe even in Canada too. The name, comes from its allegedly sucking blood from goats and other cattle. It all started in Puerto Rico when livestock were found with puncture wounds and completely drained of blood.

The most common description of chupacabras is a reptile-like being, appearing to have leathery or scaly greenish-gray skin and sharp spines or quills running down its back. This form stands approximately 3 to 4 feet (1 to 1.2 m) high, and stands and hops in a similar fashion to a kangaroo. In at least one sighting, the creature was reported to hop 20 feet (6 m). This variety is said to have a dog or panther-like nose and face, a forked tongue, and large fangs. It is said to hiss and screech when alarmed, as well as leave behind a sulfuric stench. When it screeches, some reports assert that the chupacabras’ eyes glow an unusual red which gives the witnesses nausea.

Less fantastic sightings indicated it was some sort of dog like creature, possibly an undiscovered species of coyote or wolf.

Over the years, there’s been a number of sightings and even a few bodies recovered, either killed by cars as road kill or killed by ranchers. In most cases what they discovered was not a new species but what appeared to be coyotes (or perhaps coyote-feral dog hybrids) that were diseased and mange.

Now in 2010 skeptic investigator Benjamin Radford revealed that Madelyne Tolentino, the original eyewitness, had described a creature she had recently seen in the science-fiction horror film Species as the chupacabra. The alien in the film, is nearly identical to Tolentino’s chupacabra eyewitness account: Radford revealed that Tolentino “believed that the creatures and events she saw in Species were actually happening in reality in Puerto Rico at the time,” and therefore concludes that “The popular image of the chupacabra—the one appearing on thousands of books, magazines, and Web sites as a credible eyewitness description—is in fact based on a science fiction film.”

So what about the bodies of creatures they’ve recovered?

Scientists think they’ve found the culprit, Sarcoptes scabiei, the mite that causes scabies in humans and coyotes. The chupacabras themselves are actually coyotes with severe infections by these mites, called sarcoptic mange, according to Barry O’Connor, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Michigan.

The mites burrow into the animals’ skin causing them to lose their hair and provoking an immune response that causes their skin to become thickened and ugly. Their faces swell, and their canine teeth become more prominent, resembling fangs. Weakened by the infection, they may be more prone to attack livestock, rather than their usual prey, such as rabbits, he said.

As amusing a story chupacabras are, its a pretty good example of running with the most unlikely answer possible. Sure, it could be a coyote infected with sarcoptic mange…but doesn’t it make more sense that it’s all part some government cover up, involving alien, wolf, demon hybrids? Well actually, no. It doesn’t.

So we can now all rest easy that Chupacabras aren’t some supernatural wolf-dog thing.

Posted in Blogs, Ethan's Blogs | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »