Frequently Asked Questions
Who are you?
I'm just a normal guy with a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering. I started writing a column in my school newspaper’s (The Triangle’s) Science and Technology section in September of 2004, mainly out of boredom. It attracted so much hate mail that I decided to write it every week, and I eventually decided to get my own website and put all of the articles on it. I can lay them out as I please, include as many photos as I please, and there is no maximum length for an article. Also, as much as I love the newspaper’s copy editors, there have been a number of occasions when I submitted an article and they turned it into a pile of words. After I left the newspaper in 2006, I continued writing articles, but some things have gotten in the way. First, I lived in Morocco for a year, and when I got back it was time to finish up my Ph.D. and find a job. So consider this site... irregularly updated.
Why is your website so ugly?
It's true with ladies, and it's true with websites: the flashy ones may be more popular, but are often devoid of content. I don't need to paint my articles up like hookers with fancy graphics, effects, and flashing bells and whistles. The site has a black background and white letters to make it easier on readers' eyes. The other way around, you might as well be reading this off of a lightbulb.
Why aren’t the articles on this site the same as the articles published in the Triangle?
One of the reasons I decided to get my own website was so I could publish the articles the way I wrote them, without interference from semicolon-hating editors. Also, some information had to be left out due to a maximum word count, and here I can publish the uncut, full-length, un-mutilated writings.
Are you a debunker?
I took the name “the Iron Skeptic” because the Triangle required columnists to have a name for their column. When someone called me to ask what my name would be, I was watching The Iron Chef on TV, so I went with that. I now regret it to some extent. I'm not some guy that wakes up in the morning ready to tout the party line. If what I say seems in line with 'debunkers' or any other group, it's by coincidence, not design.
The Iron Skeptic? Don't you know that iron can't bend, it can only break?
Yes, but iron also gets stronger under stress, smartass. Leave talk like that to engineers, punk.
Why are you doing this?
When I was a little kid, I liked to read books on UFOs. The more I saw of the world, and the more I learned about human nature, the more I that belief in UFOs is predicated on a naive faith in other people always telling the truth. I turn that bile into articles, because I still like reading stories about UFOs, need an outlet for my creative obscenities, and want to make the world a more cynical place. Ironically, my first love was cryptozoology; the easiest stories to tear apart, the ones abotu which people send me the most emails, and the ones that are most ripe with unintentional comedy are alien abductions stories.
No, really, why are you doing this?
There was an episode of South Park dealing with ‘psychic’ John Edwards where one of the characters says it best: It was something along the lines of “the world is full of important questions: who we are, why we’re here, where we’re going. And we’ll never get answers to these questions when people buy into this silly crap.” If you want to believe in UFOs, fine, but my goal is to ensure that you don’t believe without questioning. Sales of merchandise on the paranormal and UFOs is skyrocketing nationwide; if people put their money, time, and energy into something useful, we’d have a cure for cancer by now.
So, you think that all people that believe in UFOs are simpletons?
No. I believe that when I was younger I was a simpleton. I’ve always viewed my writings as sort of a friendly competition with UFO enthusiasts: I may not believe in the same things they do, but there’s no malice, and there’s certainly nothing personal about it. On the other hand, my dealings with them have been about 80% unpleasant, so sometimes a little bit of anger or bitterness seeps into my writings.
What do you mean, ‘my dealings with them have been about 80% unpleasant’?
When I wrote my first articles, I was totally unprepared for the response they got from the UFO enthusiasts. On the whole, when I receive email about one of my columns, it falls into one of three categories: The author tells me, with a thick slice of smug superiority, that I've got it all wrong. They know the real truth. Sometimes these people accuse me of being a government agent meant to cover up the truth about UFOs. Strangely, none of these people that know the truth ever tell me what it is, and never really comment on anything specific, they just tell me I'm totally wrong. This is the condescending category.
A number of readers have taken the time to speculate on the exact size and quality of my reproductive organs, as well as speculate that some of my close female relatives may be involved in selling sexual favors to sailors. A number of other readers email me along the same lines, claiming that my rigorous defence of the scientific method means that I will never get a job as a scientist. Every scientist I've ever talked to seems to understand that my hobby (this site) has little effect on my profession (materials engineering), but my readers remain undeterred. This is the asshole category.
Death threats. I'm not kidding. I routinely get emails claiming that the writer is going to kill me. Either that, or the writer speculates that I was abducted by aliens and these articles are just a definse mechanism that my brain uses to keep the truth from me. Sort of the way that some people think that whoever makes fun of homosexuals is secretly gay. I guess this logic works some of the time, but I am thoroughly unconvinced that I am really just a space man's puppet. This is the category that gives me a good laugh when I read their emails. In a vaguely similar vein, after I wrote an article about Scientology, the Scientologists took out two full page advertisements in my school newspaper for a couple of weeks.
If I were the type to make broad generalizations, I would say that all UFO enthusiasts are childish, illiterate thugs, but I'm not that kind of person. The emails I've gotten generally have in common shitty grammar, a lack of constructive advice, and a lot of name calling. Check out my reader feedback page. What I’m trying to say is that if you’re the sort of person that would never send a death threat, vulgar email, or resort to name calling over this stuff, please accept my most humble and heart-felt apologies. Your brethren are exceedingly crude, and sometimes I forget people like you are out there.
Your writing style is no good. Why don't you write in a more refined/ less vulgar/ more constructive/ more academic manner?
If you're looking for articles written by a historian, you might not be satisfied with this site. If you're looking for articles with a highly academic bent, that correlate all the statistics and make grand conclusions about the paranormal, I apologise, but you are likely not in the correct place. What is boils down to is that my writing style is my writing style. If you dislike it, don't read it, but I am not in the habit of writing in the style of anyone but myself.
Why do all your articles end with “be seeing you”?
It’s a tribute to The Prisoner, starring Patrick McGoohan, the best show that has ever been on television. I have it on good authority that some people see me as prone to exaggeration, but I think I am actually making an understatement when I say that this show is the absolute pinnacle of the visual arts, never to be equaled by the likes of man.
I know you’re wrong. I know, because I was abducted by aliens.
I’d love to talk to you. Please send me an email.
I know you’re right! I’d like to reprint your articles!
Please do, just let me know. To date, articles I’ve written have been translated into Spanish, French, and Danish. I’m kind of pissed at the guys that put them in French and Spanish, because they never told me they were going to copy them. I’ve also been featured on fark.com three times. If you’re from a publication that has space for a column, let me know.
I challenge you to a duel!
Hold your horses, Yosemite. I have a standing challenge that I will go anywhere, anytime, to debate anyone on any topic. Drop me a line and tell me where you are and what you’d like to argue about. Perhaps we can work something out.
Hey! There are some articles and stuff on here that aren’t about UFOs!
Yeah, well, I do this all myself. I don’t sell ads, nor do I hit people up for donations. Suffice it to say that I can’t afford more than one domain name.
Are you religious? What sort of religion do you follow?
Yes I am. I’d describe my faith system as a combination of “none of” and “your business.”
What should I do if I really, really don’t like your website?
Not read it.
What should I do if I’m deeply offended by your website?
Not read it.