Episode 121 - James McCanney's Views on Other Stuff in the Universe, Part 2
Recap: I've listened to Coast to Coast AM for many years, and one of the repeating "science" guests I have not yet talked about on this show is James McCanney. His ideas can broadly be classified as falling into the Electric Universe model, and he is best known for his ideas about comets. While Part 1 dealt with those cometary ideas exclusively, this Part 2 deals with his ideas regarding Venus, the Big Bang, the Apollo moon landings, Planet X, weather, and conspiracies in general.
- Audio Clips Used
- Coast to Coast AM, December 27, 2003 -- Art Bell Interviewing James McCanney
- Coast to Coast AM, August 30, 2007 -- George Noory Interviewing James McCanney
- Coast to Coast AM, March 04, 2008 -- George Noory Interviewing James McCanney
- Coast to Coast AM, October 04, 2010 -- George Noory Interviewing James McCanney
- Coast to Coast AM, September 01, 2011 -- George Noory Interviewing James McCanney
- Coast to Coast AM, May 23, 2013 -- George Noory Interviewing James McCanney
- James McCanney's Website and Bio
- Wikipedia on: Stats about Venus || Synodic Period || Inverse-Square Law || Reasons McCanney's Wikipedia Article was Removed
- RationalWiki on James McCanney
- 2012Hoax Wiki on James McCanney
- Phil Plait's Bad Astronomy on James McCanney
- How to Dither and Drizzle to Get "Higher Resolution:" Wikipedia || Professional Paper 1 || Professional Paper A
- Logical Fallacies / Critical Thinking Terms addressed in this episode: Conspiracy, Where There's Smoke There's Fire, Correlation = Causation, Quote Mining
- Relevant Posts on my "Exposing PseudoAstronomy" Blog
Where We Last Left Off: If you have not yet listened to podcast episode 120, you should listen to that first. Prof. James McCanney is an individual who has a lot of non-mainstream ideas about the way the universe works. A lot of it is based in the Electric Universe mythos, which holds that the primary driver behind what happens and what we see in the cosmos is caused by electricity rather than gravity and other things. For James McCanney, the primary manifestion of this deals with comets, which I discussed at length - or perhaps ad nauseam - in the previous episode. This one is going to perhaps be a bit more interesting because I’m going to discuss a hodge-podge of his other ideas, so we get a bit more of a mix rather than everything you didn’t know about comets because what you didn’t know was wrong.
Analogy Correction from Part 1
Before we plunge into Venus, I need to correct an analogy I used last time for the solar wind being neutral. I used an analogy of a peanut, where you break it out of its shell and just see the seed and claim the bowl of shells and seeds only has seeds. Expat pointed out that the peanut is more like helium than hydrogen because it has two seeds. A better analogy would have been practically any real nut as opposed to the legume that is a peanut.
So, think of a hazelnut, where you have a single seed surrounded by the shell, and that’s your whole nut. Break it up, put shell and seed in a bowl. Look at it. You can now easily detect both the seed - the proton of the hydrogen - and the shell - the electron of the hydrogen. Saying that there is a net excess of one over the other is simply not looking hard enough to see you still have both.
Venus (Velikovsky, that it always shows same face to Earth
Moving on, I’m going to talk about Venus. I should start this topic out by referring you to Episode 46 when I talked about the ideas of Immanuel Velikovsky. For, besides being an Electric Universe or “EU” guy, James McCanney can also be classified as a neo-Velikovskian, taking many of Velikovsky’s ideas and while not believing them exactly, holding some adaptation of them to be true.
One of those is that Venus was a comet. This is also why in the last episode I talked about tail dragging circularizing comets’ orbits: He believes in a made-up force that he made up that is required to make an elliptical comet’s orbit circular, and the evidence he cited was one comet that after passing through the solar system had a shorter orbit, but that was because of a close encounter with Jupiter.
Anyway, the point here is that one of McCanney’s primary ideas about Venus is that it was a comet. I’m not going to address that here, just go back about 75 episodes for the explanation of why that’s wrong.
Another one of his Venusian ideas is that Venus rotates backwards because it used to be tidally locked with Earth, just like Earth’s moon. To support that he says this: [Coast to Coast AM, September 1, 2011, Hour 1, starting 28:40]
“So within very recent times, Venus had a physical gravitational coupling with Earth, just like our moon, and that’s– so it rotates backwards because uh it literally is showing the same face to Earth all the time.”
Unfortunately for James, this is simply wrong. Venus does not always show the same side to Earth. You can look this up with just two numbers: The synodic period and Venus’ day. The synodic period is the length of time it takes an object to appear in the same spot in the solar system relative to Earth and the Sun. In other words, what is the length of time between Venus’ inferior conjunction with the Sun? The number is 583.92 days. You can measure that yourself if you really want to.
The other number is how long Venus’ day is. You can’t do this yourself — you’ll have to trust either NASA, ESA, or the Russians. They all have had space probes at Venus that measure, among other things, its rotational period. Which is 243.0185 Earth days. Yes, it spins very, very slowly.
Then, for James to be right, for Venus to always show the same face to Earth, among other things the Synodic period must be the same as the day. But it’s not. It’s not even an even multiple of the day. So from the time that Venus is between Earth and the Sun to the next time Venus is between Earth and the Sun, Venus will have gone through 2.403 days. So, James McCanney is wrong. It’s a weird claim to make, and I really have no idea where he came up with it, for I’ve never heard anyone make it before, but there you go.
A third Venusian claim has to do with Prof. McCanney needing Venus to be young, per Velikovsky. The way he does this is by claiming the following: [Coast to Coast AM, September 1, 2011, Hour 1, starting 29:04]
“One of the-the things that convinces us that– For example, the greenhouse effect is not the cause of the high temperature of Venus because– the-the side away from the sun never gets around to see the sun– how does the-the heat get around to the dark side of Venus? This is one of the obvious questions; there are many, many questions regarding this greenhouse effect heating Venus. There are no surface wind currents on Venus, so how do you get the heat from the sun side around to the dark side that has exactly exactly the same temperature? … The only real good explanation for Venus is that it’s a young planet.”
First off, this does not make any sense. It doesn’t really matter how old or young Venus is, unless it was formed within the last few weeks, the day and night temperatures if there was no atmosphere should be remarkably different. But therein lies the reason that McCanney is wrong: Venus has an atmosphere. That’s what spreads the heat around.
One of the miscellaneous, random facts that has stuck with me ever since my first year of grad school is that being on the surface of Venus is like being under a kilometer (2/3 mile) of ocean on Earth. That’s how much pressure is there, that’s how much the atmosphere is pressing down on stuff. Ignoring the heat.
That means that the atmosphere is going to be pretty darn dense because of all the pressure of the atmosphere on top of it. And that means that it’s going to be fairly good at conducting heat, even if the atmosphere was completely, 100% stationary. Which it’s not. McCanney is wrong.
There have been several probes to Venus that measured the atmospheric winds. We do have to rely on the Russians for surface winds because the US has yet to land, but they measured velocities of a few kilometers per hour — a brisk walking speed on Earth. Meanwhile, upper atmospheric winds are significantly faster, clocking in at over 300 km/hr, which is 60x the rotational speed of the planet itself (compared with Earth where top winds are around 10-20% rotational speed).
That’s how you distribute heat on Venus. For a man who calls himself a scientist and claims to talk intelligently about this material, it’s incredibly ignorant of him to not know how heat is transferred by a planetary atmosphere.
But, moving on, I’ve talked a lot so far in this episode and the last about the solar system. Let’s take a detour and go to the edge of time - or, at least, mainstream time. See … [Coast to Coast AM, August 30, 2007, Hour 1, starting 13:18]
“I’m not a big proponent of the Big Bang concept myself. I think we live in uh– what they used to call a ‘steady state’ but it’s anything but a steady state, things are changing. But uh, uh, on our timescale, that of humans, they tend to seem to stay pretty much the same.”
Why? Well, here’s one of his main reasons that he expressed as to why he doesn’t believe in - or accept the evidence for - the Big Bang: [Coast to Coast AM, August 30, 2007, Hour 1, starting 26:38]
“When astronomers take their picture of the universe, and they start looking back, and they say, uh– ‘We’re looking back in time,’ and now scientists say they’ve seen objects that are only 500 million years after the Big Bang. But the only problem is they’re in all directions, when we look out in all directions. So if you actually were seeing objects that were only 500 million years after the Big Bang, they would have to be consolidating in some location in the sky near where the original Big Bang had to be. But that’s not the case, they’re all over the sky.”
As with Venusian winds, this is a clear demonstration that he does not understand even the most basic idea behind the theory.
One of the most basic concepts of the Big Bang is that it was an explosion OF space, not an explosion IN space. This means that every point in space is not some distance from the “center” of the Big Bang, but every point actually was the Big Bang. As such, there is no “center” of the universe, just like there is no center of the surface of a balloon.
A consequence of that, and the finite speed of light, is as we look at more distant objects, we look further back in time. Farther away = further in time. It doesn’t matter in what direction we look, it all looks similar and younger because every direction was at the same place 13.7 billion years ago.
That’s why McCanney is wrong here, because he explicitly states that he thinks this is a problem with instead of evidence for the Big Bang, because he seems to think that it happened in a specific spot in space, so everything should only look younger as you look closer to that specific spot.
Coming back to the solar system, we can talk briefly about Planet X. To-date, I have discussed ten specific peoples’ ideas or specific classes of ideas or evidences related to Planet X. Conveniently, you can find them in the Tree of Episode Topics on the podcast website under the well-labeled, “Planet X” section.
James McCanney has his own version, but it is a less cohesive one that is a bit difficult to piece together based on his radio interviews, and I’m not going to give him money by buying his self-published books.
From what I can piece together from his website, other websites, and the hours upon hours that I listened to him, he believes that there’s no such thing as an individual object that is Planet X, but that it’s a bunch of objects. He certainly thinks there are planet-like objects still to be discovered, in part due to the “tremendous anger” by mainstream astronomers whenever the idea is brought up. (Where there’s smoke, there’s fire fallacy.)
The way this is wrapped into his other ideas is that these Planets Xs are … if you guessed “comets,” that’s right. Remember from last time that he believes comets not only grow, but cicularize their orbits in order to become, eventually, bona fide planets. See how it all fits together?
Therefore, any comet is a potential Planet X, and he believes that there are many planets out there that are growing and will eventually become real planets. He points to Venus, Io, Titan, and Pluto as recent planets. He also thinks that NASA is preparing us, the plebs, for an announcement of this alleged fact: [Coast to Coast AM, March 4, 2008, Hour 1, starting 32:23]
“What’s interesting about the NASA announcement that they have already discovered about 1000 planets out there, some of them getting up to the Pluto size. Then we have the prediction with the Kobe [University] scientists saying that something could be Earth-sized out there, and then you extrapolate and say, ‘Well, there could be something Jupiter-sized out there!’ And who knows what the orbit is? Uh, but you’re absolutely right, the orbits of these objects don’t correspond with anything relative to the solar disk, that supposedly formed our nine planets. And so, along with this announcement, the thing that’s very much lacking is any explanation for why we have a thousand planets all of a sudden, when five years ago, we only had 9. So that’s absolutely correct: And how did we get 900 planets, and where did they come from, and there’s lots more out there, all the way out to, uh, extreme distances from the sun; where did THOSE come from, uh-and how did they form, uh— etc. etc. … Why isn’t everything captured?”
As in, NASA announcing the ongoing discoveries of more objects out beyond Pluto means Planet X is real. It doesn’t matter that these objects are mostly smaller than Pluto, because one or two or a few larger than Pluto by his estimation means that some could be Earth-sized which means you can extrapolate even further and say some are Jupiter-sized!
And at that point, we get into what I’ve discussed in past episodes, that we have all-sky surveys that would have been able to detect Jupiter-sized objects in the Kuiper Belt, and we haven’t found any.
Apollo Moon Landings
Continuing the journey back to the solar system and even closer to home, we get to the Apollo moon landings, which James McCanney thinks were faked. His main line of evidence is the claim that the Apollo astronauts could not possibly have survived the supposedly deadly van Allen Belt radiation.
As evidence for this, he cites Russian sources that have told him specifically that the Russians launched people to the van Allen Belts and they came back “roasted.” When asked for any evidence of this, he said he had none other than these anonymous Russian sources.
I discussed this claim at length in Episode 5 of the podcast, so I’m not going to get into it again here. But when confronted by a person pointing out the public relations issue, that every second-world country (mainly Russia and China) would have crowed at the top of their lungs about this, McCanney’s response was simply: [Coast to Coast AM, December 27, 2003, Hour 4, starting 02:40]
“How often at that time did you hear news from Russia?”
When pressed more by Art Bell who was at least willing to challenge him a little bit, he responded again with simply, “but who in this country would’ve believed it?”
To me, these are nonsensical counterarguments. Even if we gave him the huge and wrong leap of faith that no one outside of Russia or China ever heard anything from inside those countries, we’d still know about it now! If either country could have proven that the US faked the moon landings, they would have screamed it as loudly as they could have around the world, or at the very least within their own countries. And people talk. And keep records. It would have been at least front-page news in those countries. And yet, there are no reputable records from any country that show this being the case.
In my opinion, it shows a profound contempt for the listener to think that they’ll buy this explanation.
Beyond that and radiation claims, he does get a bit more sciencey by repeating another tired, old claim that we have plenty of great, high-powered telescopes on or orbiting Earth, so why can’t we take photos of the moon landing sites and prove it? [Coast to Coast AM, December 27, 2003, Hour 4, starting 25:06]
JM: “Here’s what I suggest as a scientist - and I’ve suggested this to NASA - is let’s do some observations of the Moon. We have given NASA and these astronomers gigantic telescopes that are very capable of focusing and taking photographs of those lunar landing sites.”
AB: “Well now that is true, isn’t it.”
JM: “And, uh, I have suggested that. Now, I would think that these guys would be jumping at the bit to show us how powerful their telescopes are and show us those lunar landing sites.”
I addressed this also before, in Episode 56. The reason is very, very simple and gets to fundamental properties of optics that as a guy who was trained in physics, he should know: For optical imaging of the Apollo sites from Earth, you would need a visible-light, optical telescope that is at least 370 meters across, 1214 feet across. That is basic physics.
However, James McCanney seems to ignore basic physics and invent his own to get around it. He did this by talking about the Hubble Space Telescope photographing Pluto: [Coast to Coast AM, December 27, 2003, Hour 4, starting 27:17]
“And they proceeded to take a picture of the planet Pluto and Charon, it’s moon. And with that pixel count on Pluto, I was able to calculate the resolution - the REAL resolution - of the Hubble Space Telescope, it is very capable of resolving the lunar landing sites. And we have telescopes on Earth which have much more resolving power.”
Again, he’s wrong. Hubble’s photos of Pluto, the raw photos, show Pluto to be only a few pixels wide. Let’s use a round number and say it’s about 5 pixels wide, which is really not exaggerating. The scientists can get more pixels across it by doing complicated processing and changing the pointing of the telescope such that Pluto just moves half a pixel from where it was.
Pluto is about 4.9 billion kilometers away, which means, from basic trigonometry, that Pluto is around 0.1 arcseconds across, or that it appears about 18,000 times smaller than the full moon.
Multiplying things out, this gives you pixels on the moon that are very roughly 50 to 100 meters across. And that’s only IF you use the incredibly complicated pointing and processing that was done for Pluto. To quote the guys that made the Pluto images from Hubble data: “This has taken four years and 20 computers operating continuously and simultaneously to accomplish.”
In other words, McCanney was wrong. Hubble can’t photograph the Apollo artifacts on the Moon. Ground-based telescopes can’t photograph the Apollo artifacts on the Moon. But, then of course, since 2009, we have had the Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter with its Narrow-Angle Camera which has taken images of the moon with pixel scales better than 20 centimeters. And we have imaged every Apollo landing site and the landing sites of several other craft and shown the artifacts. When confronted with this kind of information, McCanney has responded with statements like the following, taken from his “thought of the day” from February 9, 2014:
“apologists fend off these "nut case attacks" with so called "debunkers" ... a band of NASA treckies of dubious scientific credentials and to say the least ... who have no first hand knowledge of the lunar program let alone any credible evidence that the lunar landings ever occurred ... to me the case is simple science ... for anyone making a scientific claim the burden of proof is on them ... NASA (the claimant) has NEVER NEVER NEVER presented the slightest shred of conclusive evidence that it did anything close to going to the moon let alone landing and bringing men back ... the LRO Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter was planned and a major scientific goal of that mission was to conclusively return high resolution pics of ALL 7 lunar landing sites ... it produced a few low pixel frames of worse quality than your cell phone camera could produce and NEVER produced the pre-announced high resolution pics that should have shown down to the smallest pebble and footprint the corresponding terrain shown in the alleged lunar landing photos that NASA released and are still publicly available”
Or, on July 28, 2011, he wrote that absolutely no one associated with Apollo - the thousands of people who worked on it - not a single one of them ever wrote a book about it, therefore it was a hoax. Except that, to make that claim, he has to ignore the literally hundreds of books written about Apollo by those very people he says never wrote a book about it.
This is why I’ve labeled him to at least a certain extent, a “denier.” When confronted with clear, hard evidence that contradicts his views, even after it was THAT EVIDENCE that was asked for, he simply refuses to accept it. He even lies about it.
Weather and Hurricanes
For the last science topic, I’m going to discuss James’s views on weather and hurricanes. By this point, it shouldn’t surprise you when I say that he believes hurricanes, and most weather in general, is caused by electrical energy from space. Here’s an example from May 23, 2013: [Coast to Coast AM, May 23, 2013, Hour 3, starting 27:39]
“Like I always say: Weather is energy personified. If you look at the National Weather Service, they don’t tell you where weather comes from, they just try and report weather. A lot of times, they can’t predict weather because they don’t have any, uh, real predictive, uh, information in their models. But, what I do is tell you where weather comes from. What causes it. Where does that energy come from. Uh, let’s take the example of the weather system moving through Texas right now. That weather system developed in Texas. Where does that energy come from? It didn’t come across Arizona! New Mexico! It didn’t come up from Mexico! It didn’t come from the North! It developed right there. That energy is coming from outer space. And uh [unintelligible] connection into electrical currents that are passing by Earth. A lot of the water comes from outer space. Because that water didn’t come across Arizona and New Mexico. It didn’t come up from Mexico, from the Baja [California]. It developed right in Texas. So, you see these things developing, where did all that water come from that’s right now in those storm systems in Texas. The only place is up.”
I’m sounding like a broken record at this point, but the problem with this is that he’s simply wrong. First off, the National Weather Service in the United States makes a product: A weather forecast. That’s their job. Just as a butcher will make you sausage and that sausage doesn’t come from space, you just don’t see and probably don’t want to see how it’s made. By the same token, the NWS will create a weather forecast based on a lot of meteorological science, but they tend not to tell you how they do it because the end user doesn’t care and probably most would have a hard time caring less how it’s done.
If you want to know how it’s done, ten seconds on Google or your internet search engine of choice will tell you, or take a basic weather and climate geology course in school. I did as part of my geology minor in undergraduate. It’s not that hard: Weather on Earth is caused by an uneven distribution of energy — not electrical energy, but heat energy. And, McCanney should know since he is usually introduced as a professor of physics and mathematics, that heat will flow from an area of high heat to an area of low heat.
That’s why - if you remember back to my opening the door example and my house cooling down from the previous episode - the house cooled down: It was hotter in the house than it was outside. Heat flowed from the hot house to the cold outside, creating a breeze because the air molecules - and snow molecules in the case of a few days ago - were physically moving locations.
In the broader system that is Earth, there are two primary heat sources: The Sun inputting energy, and Earth releasing energy because of internal heat. Obviously the sun is only going to heat the side facing it, causing the side away from it to cool down. That by its very nature creates a temperature difference, and with basic laws of physics wanting to equalize that temperature difference, you get heat transport across the globe. The same thing happens with ocean currents, transporting heat all around the planet. If it weren’t for ocean currents, Europe would be as cold as that frozen northern country us ‘Mer’cans refer to as Canadia.
He also thinks that weather is easily manipulated by laser beam satellites that shine lasers through the atmosphere, ionize it, and therefore change how weather happens, such as re-directing hurricanes. We’ve had these satellites, apparently, since about 2002. And that these laser satellites can cause earthquakes. I mention this part more as an aside because there’s no real good way to disprove it other than say it’s implausible; in reality, the burden is on James McCanney to prove his claim.
Finally, as a third part to his weather claim, we get to a specific example of our weather coming from space: [Coast to Coast AM, May 23, 2013, Hour 3, starting 02:20]
“Here’s what’s going on. I was looking for the cause of this two months ago, I said, ‘Something is going on with this weather, weather doesn’t just happen.’ It’s energy personified, and that energy has to come from someplace. And I was looking and looking, and I said, ‘These weather systems we’re seeing have to be driven by something,’ and I looked all over the solar system. And it turns out, we connected electrically– very strong electrical connection with the planet Saturn. And I thought, ‘Wow! If this is true, it’s gonna carry us way into May,’ and I made that prediction at the time, and that is what has been going on.”
For those who didn’t catch that, he looked for a correlation and assumed causation. In this case, weird weather was caused by Saturn. If you think this sounds like astrology, I had that same thought.
Since this episode hasn’t been very mathy, let’s go for it. Let’s assume we believe Maxwell’s equations and that electricity follows an inverse-square law for intensity (it’s called a “law” for a reason, mind you — it’s a fact that the intensity of electricity falls off with the square of the distance, so if you’re 5x farther away from something, the intensity is 1/25 (1/5^2)).
Let’s also assume that we have a spacecraft that, gee, operates on electricity that’s in orbit of Saturn. Which we do. It’s called Cassini and has been in orbit since 2004. Cassini does not orbit in a nice, circular orbit, but it’s widely variable. From what a quick search got me, we can put a very rough number of 1 million km from Saturn. For a very round number, Saturn’s a bit over 1 billion km from Earth.
Now let’s apply the inverse-square law: ( (1 billion) / (1 million) )^2 = (1 thousand)^2 = 1 million.
So an electrical connection with Saturn, at Earth, would necessarily have had to have been 1 million times stronger at Cassini. Even if we’re talking some sort of directed energy weapon like a Star Trek phaser, the electrical discharge from Saturn would have had to have done something to Saturn’s magnetosphere that would have affected Cassini. You can’t get out of this. A 1 million-fold increase of electrical output magically happening from Saturn would have fried Cassini, and yet it’s still operating just as well as before.
Therefore, yet again, McCanney is wrong.
Conspiracy and Rants
I’ve managed to get through the previous episode and most of this episode so far with being reasonably polite and objective, and showing James McCanney to be reasonably polite, if somewhat “misguided,” I might politely say. At least until a few of these last bits.
That’s because the majority of this episode has been based on what he’s stated publicly on mass media, namely Coast to Coast AM. However, he also has his own radio program and his own website, the latter being jmccanneyscience.com. On his website, he often posts very VERY roughly weekly “thoughts.” I read one of them and repeated the jist of a second one earlier with the Apollo information. This episode was recorded on November 30, 2014; here’s what he posted on November 14, 2014:
“cometary science within the european and USA gov supported space agencies has struck an all time low ... with the Siding Spring comet encounter with Mars and the Rosetta mission to land on a comet ... ALL the results clearly prove two things ... 1) comets could not possibly be dirty snowballs and 2) my Plasma Discharge Comet Model is absolutely correct ... it is so far beyond disgusting as the morons (PhDs) within these agencies have the gall to repeatedly admit that nothing they see corresponds to their anticipated fairy tale science yet they state that "they will work on discovering the workings of comets" but of course within the framework of their disneyland concepts ... how disgusting ... how very pathetic and what a complete waste of valuable resources ... we have been experiencing heavier than normal ordering on the sales page and i there are some items that we will soon have to limit orders ... follow the link below to order now before the Christmas holiday rush kicks in ... jim mccanney”
Another one from two months ago:
... i just saw an episode of the recent series COSMOS on the history channel ... BARFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFFF !!! talk about the summary of tier II fairy tale science !!! it took all i could do to listen to the officialdom explanations of the mass extinctions throughout the history of the world ... wow !!! no mention of any activity from outer space ... according to them the earth just jumped up and did all this by its lonesome self ... compete garbage ... fluff fluff and more hand waving fluff ... taking the true meaning of the term PhD (piles higher and deeper) to new levels ... jim mccanney
Hey NASA ... is phil plaitte and that other clown that no one can pronounce his name the best you can come up with ??? these are 3rd tier piss ants that left their minds on the coat rack when they checked in to get their PhD piece of paper ... how about sending out at least a tier 2 scientist like yeomans, muma or a'hearn or the great hal weaver to defend the dirtly snow ball comet model ??? why do they hide behind these hired "outreach bozos" ??? or are the jpl/goddard/mauna kea boys hiding and positioning themselves to release the NASA "new electric comet model" ??? you guys really stink big time !!! you people really cannot be serious .... then there are your other hired hands who intercept my email, create similar web sites like the "jamesmccanneyscience" page that was used to redirect people to as your agents spoofed my email address advertising pornography ... or how about he disinfo crew that tries to bad mouth me and carry on your crazy planet X BS and try to drag my good name into the disinformation campaign that you created (and which failed due to my efforts) ... remember it was me that caught you clowns passing photos to the alien contactee of your contrived planet x campaign of may 15, 2003 ... you guys are really pathetic ... jim mccanney
I don’t bring these two examples in as a way to mine for ways to besmirch McCanney’s character as a way to poison the well. If I wanted to do that, I would have led in with them. Rather, since these two episodes are meant to talk about the ideas of this individual, I think it only fair to bring in the broader context of those ideas and how he approaches them.
He’s really rather polite on Coast to Coast. I have over 26 hours’ worth of audio of him and I listened to most of it before writing this two-parter. I even listened to him do a full three-hour debate with David Morrison about Velikovsky, and even though he was supporting the Velikovsky model, or at least parts of it, he still was very polite and reasoned.
What does come off, though, is the conspiratorial nature of his belief system. Here is an excerpt from November 4, 2010, when he was asked yet again to explain his model of comets [Coast to Coast AM, November 4, 2010, Hour 1, starting 14:44]:
GN: “You believe comets, a little more seriously. You don’t think they’re just these icy fireballs. You believe they’re made of iron, rock. What’s the difference if, you know– cause-because you two differ, you and s-some of the scientists at NASA, what does that mean?”
JM: “Well, it’s basically, it’s a huge issue. Because what I say is they [unintelligible] it could have ice on it, it doesn’t have to have. But what happens is every piece of material in the solar system is discharging the solar capacitor, it’s an electrical phenomenon, and if you understand that, you start to see all of the phenomena related to comets - the plasma tail, the sunward spike - you see all of this is readily explained. And none of this is readily explained by the dirty snowball comet model. Uh, but you find that the so-called experts at NASA, year after year repeating the same concept. But what it really means to me is that space is very electrical, and we could tap into the same electrical conditions to power the Earth, a relatively inexpensive process. Nothing is totally free, but uh, therein lies the whole issue to me. ... If you realize that comets are not dirty snowballs, they’re a discharge of the electrical conditions in the solar system, the first question out of everybody’s mouth would be, ‘well, can we use this for power?’ and the answer is ‘Yes!’ So what does that do to the people in control of the world? We’re talking about the bankers, the people in charge; they control the world through energy: oil, nuclear power, and coal. Those are the big ones. … These are very controlling forces, and if you took that away, one of their biggest tools to control the public would go away.”
That’s just one example, but it clearly shows that there is a conspiratorial mindset underlying his ideas, and that’s before you get to his writings. I suppose in fairness, it would be hard NOT to have a conspiratorial mindset if you believe everything works one way, but everyone else believes it works another way — how would you explain it if NOT by conspiracy?
He maintains this in much the same way that Richard Hoagland does, by envisioning a Tier 1 science caste that includes dark projects and secret telescopes and other stuff where they of course know all about him and use his ideas while also putting out disinformation, and then Tier 2 which are for plebs like me and probably you, who putz around maintaining the status quo because we’re too closed-minded to think there’s anything else.
His conspiratorial mindset tends to extend beyond just astronomy, though. If you can navigate through his website - which looks much like Hoagland’s in that it seems to have been designed in the 1990s and not updated since, with its patterned light blue background and bold italicized yellow font text throughout lengthy pages - you’ll find that he sells stainless steel bottles so you don’t get poisoned by plastic, water filters that screen out chemicals and radiation and oil, that he’s anti-GMO, and various other things.
I mention these again not to try to poison the well (except maybe the comment about his website, ‘cause it’s very annoying and I have to read through these things for the podcast episode prep), but to point out that rarely do conspiracies exist in isolation. Rather, the people who hold them tend to latch on to other conspiracies, especially once they have reached the conclusion that the entire scientific establishment is made of “disgusting morons” (one of his terms for Ph.D. scientists) and that you know a lot more than they do.
Overall, McCanney talks a lot of talk, but his ideas are fairly ridiculous, and his writings are poorly edited rants that just literally spew misinformation if I’m being generous, or outright lies if I’m not. One of his main tactics to try to support his ideas is to selectively quote-mine (which is a redundant statement, but I’m sticking with it) in order to find evidence for his ideas and to try to disprove mainstream ideas.
After listening to him for over two dozen hours and reading a lot of his material and material about him, I’ve come to the conclusion - and my opinion - that he really believes what he says and that he’s so invested in it that every shred of evidence he can find supports his ideas, and he takes the most literal statements and bits and pieces of science to try to twist the science to make the mainstream view seem wrong when in fact it’s just how he’s using the evidence. Other times, as I’ve pointed out in a few instances in this episode, he simply lies or is willfully ignorant, making things up.
This isn’t just MY opinion: An excerpt from the Talk page of his deleted Wikipedia article states:
A Google search for <McCanney "dipole red shift"> suggests that his work is mostly discussed only in Internet forums and his own website. … The claims in the article as to notability are unverifiable and not backed up by any citations. There is no mathematical problem that is known as "the Prime Number Problem". The website devoted to this exudes whackiness. … Charitably, this is original research unfit for Wikipedia; less charitably, it's a probably a scam. It's just possible that his physics is good, but his math is worse than wrong: it's gibberish. … I spent some time reading in hopes of finding some claim as to what problem was solved, but only saw an ever-increasing crackpot index.
He’s also published — self-published, that is — several books: “Planet-X, Comets and Earth Changes,” “Surviving Planet-X Passage,” “Atlantis to Tesla: The Kolbrin Connection,” “Principia Meteorlogia: The Physics of Sun Earth Weather,” “Calculate Primes: Direct Propagation of the Prime Numbers,” and “The Diamond Principle.” In them, he lays out many of his ideas, but you can tell simply from some of titles, like the Atlantis to Tesla one, that they are fanciful.
Despite my opinion on his perspective, and his rants and overall conspiracy, I don’t think that he’s completely crazy. I was in fact surprised when I found the rants on his website because my only previous exposure had been through Coast to Coast AM, where he even has done debates. He always came off as reasonably measured and calm, which is evidence that he clearly has a grasp of a time and place for where he needs to be polite and measured. This is in contrast with some other people I’ve talked about in the podcast.
Throughout this episode and the previous, I’ve talked a lot about - by conservative counting - a half dozen of his non-mainstream ideas. These are just a sampling. This could easily have been a three-part or longer series. He also has ideas about alternative energy, more about Velikovsky, a lot more on comets like the idea that they grow rather than shrink with time, that the sun’s energy is produced on the surface rather than in the center, Atlantis is real and Tesla made a Death Ray, astrology, and various other things. In the interest of keeping this under an hour, and for my own sanity, I’ve left those out.
I think a user on Yahoo! Answers perhaps wrote it best: “Running around on late night radio shows. [C]omplaining that NASA and the government are trying to pollute minds, well that is no way to be taken seriously.”
I think talking about this is okay and worthwhile though, because by now you should have a fairly good idea of the types of claims that James McCanney makes, the reasons he’s wrong, and my ultimate intent: Why the mainstream idea is what it is, and not what McCanney thinks it is, despite his rants about conspiracy. I think this is important not to personally attack him, which I don’t think I really have, but to show how pseudoscientists think, the way they construct their arguments, and how to go about looking into them by way of examples.
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