In which I’m once again embarrassed to be an American

Yes, I’ve realized that secular websites spend a lot of time kvetching about stuff. I try to leaven that with animals and humor, but since we’re mired in a world of faith, I suppose kvetching is the norm.

Here’s a minor plaint: according to a new CNN poll, 79% of Americans think that there are no survivors among the 239 passengers of the missing Malaysia Air flight 370. Well, okay, but it should be close to 100%.

This is the weird part (my emphasis):

As to the possible causes of the plane’s disappearance, Americans have a open mind, with some sort of action on the part of the plane’s pilots or crew the most likely possibility.

Some two-thirds of respondents say it is very likely (26%) or somewhat likely (40%) that the disappearance was due to actions taken by the pilots or crew members.

Terrorists were likely involved in the disappearance, according to 57% of the respondents. Separately, when asked whether mechanical failure or an accident was behind the disappearance, 52% said that was likely versus 46% who answered not likely.

Fewer Americans — about 42% — think hijackers may have been involved, while 9% believe that space aliens or beings from another dimension were involved.

There are about 242,000,000 people in the U.S. over the age of 18. If these data are truly a random sample, there are about 21.8 million Americans who not only believe in space aliens, but think they did something to that flight.

I’m too dispirited to decry the lunacy of my countrymen. It’s just sad.

h/t: Sarah

105 Comments

  1. TinCoyote
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    Don’t be sad. It’s a CNN poll.

    At least half of the alien/dimensional being responders are trolls trying to make CNN look stupid.

    Mind you, making CNN look stupid is a pretty low bar to set, but this IS the internet.

  2. krzysztof1
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:11 am | Permalink

    But you knew that already, right? :) Actually, I’m a bit surprised it was only 9 per cent. . .

    • Dominic
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      I wonder how many really think that & how many were being daft like me in the stoopid comment below…? I have only ever met nice Americans but they are/were of the travelling type so perhaps a bit more sensible. (In other words they were in Europe).

      • Dominic
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

        Not that everyone sensible is in Europe…
        I’ll shut up…

        • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

          I know what you mean, although I have been astonished at some of my countrypersons abroad. I have learned (like many of us traveling Yanks) to affect a Canadian accent.

          • Diana MacPherson
            Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

            Hey!

            • Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:21 pm | Permalink

              ..and then I REALLY act like an asshole. ;-)

              • Diana MacPherson
                Posted May 7, 2014 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

                I’ve always said that if I did anything bad while travelling, I’d just say I was American. People mix up Canadians for Americans all the time anyway. :) Once some Americans were really obnoxious in a store in New Zealand so I didn’t go in. I was afraid they’d yell at me thinking I was American. Another time a Kiwi girl in Auckland was being obnoxious at an observatory, complaining and asking who paid for NASA. The presenter said that the Americans paid for it. I almost gave her my speech about why we should fund things NASA does and how that doesn’t mean governments can’t pay for things that make the world better at the same time. But then I remembered how I sound and figured I didn’t want to get in a fight about America so I just bit my tongue.

            • Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:26 pm | Permalink

              Close, but the Canadians generally don’t aspirate the “H.” It’s just, “eh,” eh?

              b&

              • Filippo
                Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:35 pm | Permalink

                To my ear Canadians and (Central, Northern) Virginians sound a bit alike. (“out,” “about,” etc.)

      • krzysztof1
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:19 am | Permalink

        A good point. I imagine there are quite a few “poll anarchists” trying to destroy the whole enterprise. But there also should be a way to screen for that kind of thing.

    • krzysztof1
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:15 am | Permalink

      That’s just about the number of persons who voted for Goldwater in 1964. As the polls began to show a landslide victory for Johnson, the slogan was “20 million Americans can’t be wrong!”

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 8, 2014 at 7:21 am | Permalink

        Which put Barry G. just 30 million short of Elvis, who had the original 50 million infallible fans of that era.

  3. Dominic
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    Pretty clear it must have been ‘space’ aliens (what other sort are there???!)… that or Courtney Love – she seemed to know a lot about it – not that I am an expert http://whyevolutionistrue.wordpress.com/2014/03/18/did-courtney-love-find-the-missing-malaysia-air-jet/ ;)

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:16 am | Permalink

      That’s because she IS a space alien. Kurt Cobain was probably taken up by them and isn’t really dead. LOL

    • Rory
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:44 pm | Permalink

      Other sorts of aliens include resident aliens an illegal aliens. You wouldn’t want to risk misguided violent reprisals against minority groups by not being specific enough in apportioning blame, would you?

      • gravelinspector-Aidan
        Posted May 8, 2014 at 1:32 am | Permalink

        You wouldn’t want to risk misguided violent reprisals against minority groups by not being specific enough in apportioning blame, would you?

        Considering that the plane was flying from Malaysia to China, with mostly Malaysians and Chinese on board (though a friend working in Australia lost two colleagues I’ve discovered recently ; so there’s probably more variation than the blunt nationality figures suggest), then the set of aliens under consideration would include Brits, Americans, Canadians, Europeans in general …
        “Alien” can, of course, include YOU.

  4. Diana MacPherson
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    Honestly, it won’t take much to send civilization right back to the caves! People are willing to believe the most ridiculous things before they will even consider listening to reason. I’m daily disappointed by things like this so I plot my escape into hermitude!

  5. Greg Esres
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    I have to wonder whether the people blaming the space aliens are just yanking the chains of the pollsters.

    A friend of mine, who admittedly has affection for a lot of woo, casually mentioned that he phoned Homeland Security about the possible space alien connection and when I asked “Are you serious?”, laughed at me.

  6. eric
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    57% think terrorists, 52% think mechanical failure or accident 9% think aliens…clearly some people were checking more than one box here, answering that many things were “likely.”

    Like @1, I’m okay with the 9% as I kinda expected it to be higher.

    • Posted May 8, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

      I guess some might have something inspired by The Day The Earth Stood Still, hence a mechanical failure *caused* by aliens …

  7. Jack Brinn
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    Let’s hope that some people saw the poll for what is is – stupid – and answered accordingly. That does not rule out stupidity as a state of being in the USA.

  8. Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:20 am | Permalink

    What interest do space aliens (I’ll ignore beings from other dimensions) have in getting involved with causing planes to disappear?

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      I’m sure it’s for the probing. Why else would aliens cross the vast expanses of space, other than to probe us?

      b&

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        That does seem likely given all the probing reports.

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

        Right, but what good does probing serves them?

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:50 am | Permalink

          For the fun of it of course! Aliens are pathologically curious about orfices. I suspect they don’t have any.

          • john frum
            Posted May 8, 2014 at 3:23 am | Permalink

            That makes me think of THHGTTG when Ford Prefect is telling Arthur about ‘teasers’ who are aliens that land in the middle of nowhere and go up to people who no-one is ever going to believe and make ‘meep meep’ noises.

        • Kevin
          Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:29 pm | Permalink

          My hypothesis is that it has nothing to do with humans.

          Aliens are just serving their e. coli masters. Humans are nothing more than vats for the propagation of e.coli. After all, we create several tons of it in our lifetimes.

          That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

      • Darth Dog
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:45 am | Permalink

        But after abducting Cartman you would think that they would have given up on the practice.

    • Diana MacPherson
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      They probably want to use the plains to poison us with their “vapour trails”. :D

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

        And why do they want to poison us? :D

        • Diana MacPherson
          Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:49 am | Permalink

          Because they are aliens. Aliens always want to poison us — then take our water. In that order.

          • Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:51 am | Permalink

            Notwithstanding the fact that H2O is the third most common molecule in space…

            • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:48 am | Permalink

              But not water molecules with human memory.

              • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:49 am | Permalink

                Oh, the great homeopaths from outer space… Hahnemann was of course a space alien too?

            • Diana MacPherson
              Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

              Ha ha, I actually argued the same thing with a friend of mine. I said I was so sick of movies about aliens wanting our water like the latest one – Oblivion. Spoilers but I stated that a vast machine intelligence capable of building other intelligent machines and conquering worlds calculates that it is cheaper & easier to destroy life on earth to take the water. Oh & to keep a few clones around for the upkeep of the machines because the vast machine intelligence couldn’t create a machine to do that.

              Riiiiiight.

              • Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

                I watched once a “documentary” on National Geographic about what an alien invasion would like, but the makers horribly failed to show a credible motive for space aliens to invade our planet (or even our Solar System) in the first place. On further notice I didn’t buy their conclusion that we have a fair chance of winning in the long run…

      • Ken Kukec
        Posted May 8, 2014 at 7:47 am | Permalink

        The Great Plains?

        A comment above did point out that aliens prefer to land and approach people “in the middle of nowhere.”

    • Robert Bray
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      Remember the WWII pilots in ‘Close Encounters’?

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:56 am | Permalink

        Nope, have never watched “close Encounters”.

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:07 am | Permalink

        Were they walking funny? Like they had been ‘probed’?

        • Doug
          Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:45 pm | Permalink

          Has anyone ever explained why aliens create crop circles?

          • Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:49 pm | Permalink

            They were putting together a portfolio in a bid for the Led Zeppelin *Remasters* cover.

            /@

    • Hempenstein
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 5:53 pm | Permalink

      Why would space aliens want one? Simple! They want one for their collection, of course. And once a new model comes out, they’ll all want one, therefore new planes should disappear faster than older ones.

      And since they don’t, there’s one less reason to expect that spaliens exist.

      • Mark Joseph
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 6:04 pm | Permalink

        Ah, but that’s what they *want* you to believe!

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:22 pm | Permalink

        >>nd once a new model comes out, they’ll all want one, therefore new planes should disappear faster than older ones.

        >>And since they don’t, there’s one less reason to expect that spaliens exist.

        I like this one.

  9. Greg Esres
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    What’s really disturbing about the poll is most people seem to have an opinion about something on which they don’t really have good data, a view in a vacuum. I would have to say “I don’t know”.

    • eric
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:36 am | Permalink

      Without knowing much about the events around the disappearence, I still would’ve been very comfortable answering “highly unlikely” to space alien kidnap. Frankly I’d probably feel dishonest giving a “don’t know” response to a quesiton about space alien cause, as I would not want to give the false impression that it is in any way equivalent to my other ‘don’t know’ responses. IOW anwering negatively on the space alien question is IMO the “least worst” response. It communicates my true belief more than “don’t know” does.

      • Greg Esres
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:34 pm | Permalink

        “I still would’ve been very comfortable answering “highly unlikely” to space alien kidnap.”

        Ok, I’ll give you that one.

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:56 am | Permalink

      Yep. Space aliens is stupid, but it’s otherwise no more speculative than any other answer.

      /@

    • Filippo
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:43 pm | Permalink

      Hitch once commented on a poll of Americans’ opinions regarding the status of and prospects for Ronald Reagan’s post-operative colon.

  10. futuret
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    I AM LEAVING THIS EARTH PLANE ALTOGETHER. PHYSICALLY, I AM A CITIZEN OF THE USA, BUT DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF AS SUCH, I AM NOW A CITIZEN OF THE HEAVENS, LOOKING FORWARD TO THE RETURN OF JESUS CHRIST, AND ESTABLISHING THE KINGDOM OF GOD, THAT CAN NEVER BE PUT TO RUNIN. YES, AND IN THIS UNIVERSE OF MINE TO COME THERE SHALL BE NO HOSPITALS, NOR CEMETERIES; ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN. GOOD BYE THIS WORLD THE WAY IT IS NOW.

    • challedon
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:52 am | Permalink

      Have a safe trip.

      • Dave
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:21 am | Permalink

        futuret: As a matter of interest – does Jesus Christ have something against lower-case letters?

        • Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:58 am | Permalink

          JESUS IS BATHED IN MAJUSCULE!

          /@

        • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          Didn’t you know? Things you type using capital letters are extra true.

          • Filippo
            Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:45 pm | Permalink

            Same with the use of multiple question and exclamation marks? (I have a relative who punctuationally thus blesses me.)

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      WHO/WHAT IS RUNIN?

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:16 am | Permalink

      Edgar Allan, is that you?

      • Moarscienceplz
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:53 am | Permalink

        Nah. I find that ALL CAPS is generally reserved for God’s “special” friends.

      • Diana MacPherson
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:50 pm | Permalink

        Ha! I wondered the same thing.

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 5:08 pm | Permalink

      Wait! Don’t forget your towel!

  11. Kevin
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    Aliens is better than SkyDaddy. Of course, saying SkyDaddy took the plane out does not look good on his resume, not that his resume could get any worse.

  12. Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    If asked by a pollster for my opinion-based-on-nothing, I might jerk the leash with a fanciful reply, delivered deadpan.

    Many years ago, I was stopped on the street by a radio reporter and asked my opinion about the upcoming Xmas holiday season. I told her that it was so good for business we should have two a year. August might be a good choice as it had a paucity of holidays. She (slack-jawed) let me ramble on for minutes about Santa in linen shorts, etc.

  13. Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    For those of you who think that these people don’t really believe in aliens, be aware that many, many Americans do. A National Geographic poll, for instance, found that 36% of Americans believe that aliens have visited Earth, and nearly 80% think the government is keeping secrets about UFOs.

    I’m surprised, given that 80-90% of Americans believe in a personal God, for which there is equally little evidence, that people are so ready to argue that these alien-believers in the poll are just pulling CNN’s leg.

    • Moarscienceplz
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:58 am | Permalink

      Oh yes they do believe. I had a discussion with a girlfrind who believed in the whole alien abduction thing. I pointed out that even if aliens had invented some sort of FTL drive, it still would be a huge undertaking to send an expedition to Earth, so why would they keep it secret?
      That did not make her belief waver even a tiny bit.

    • Greg Esres
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      I’m perfectly willing to accept that Americans believe in space aliens, but that’s a different horse from believing they’re responsible for the missing airplane.

      I’m sure most of us accept that there probably are space aliens, but the obstacles to visiting Earth are formidable. And there’s no good evidence for it.

  14. NewEnglandBob
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Maybe there was no plane. Maybe there is no Malaysia. Maybe there is no Indian Ocean. Were you there?

    • Filippo
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      When I was on my navy ship there was an I.O. But then perhaps it went away when we (I) departed it. (The USS Solipsism)

  15. Richard Cook
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    At times like this, let us pause to remember that 50% of the population is below average intelligence, and that the average intelligence of a human is not all that impressive. So 9% is actually a decent number here.

    • Moarscienceplz
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      Even smart people can believe in stupid things. Arthur Conan Doyle created Sherlock Holmes but was easily convinced two girls has photographed fairies.

      • Greg Esres
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

        I’m not sure that inventing a smart character is a sign of intelligence. The author has the liberty of ensuring that poor reasoning leads to the correct answer.

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

        Confirmation bias.

        /@

  16. Pliny the in Between
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    It may be that our freedom of speech allows our lunatic fringe greater freedom to express their pet theories than many other countries rather than a greater number of crackpots per capita.

    • Merilee
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 1:18 pm | Permalink

      Good point!

    • Filippo
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:55 pm | Permalink

      Definition of cognitive dissonance?: sitting down with “a guy you can have a beer with,” but then he starts talking about adenosine triphosphate and dark energy.

  17. John H
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:33 am | Permalink

    Maybe the aliens treat us with a degree of disdain (stealing planes and probing our orifices with high tech sex toys) because only 9% of them believe in human intelligence.

    Not sure it says much for their technology if they can traverse interstellar space, abduct a 200 ton aircraft and then manage to crash it in the Indian Ocean. You would think they might do a bit better.

    • Moarscienceplz
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:03 pm | Permalink

      It didn’t crash. Xenu needed to transport another batch of Thetans to a volcano. ;-)

  18. Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:38 am | Permalink

    I don’t think that people are stupid, but I do think that people are a bit lazy. Meaning, many of us don’t invest a lot of thought into examining the basis for our beliefs. Even more specifically, we don’t try to integrate these beliefs with what we already know to be true, or what is likely to be true.

    I once had an argument with an open-minded, wooish type over the fact that many people in Iceland believe in gnomes – literally little people who live among them. I of course was arguing that the chance of existence of these creatures is close to nil, while she was pressing me on how I knew that. How do I know that gnomes don’t exist? Can all of these people really be wrong; surely there must be some truth at the bottom of these claims? Get out of your little empirical, Western box and keep an open mind, etc.

    So knowing that she accepts evolution and was not particularly religious, I inquired about the origin of these creatures. From what predecessor creatures did they evolve? And when? Or are we to assume that these creatures, unique among every other living thing, were separately created by some unknown entity?

    This seemed to stop her in her tracks, for she finally realized that if we are claiming the existence of some living creature, it would need to have an evolutionary history like every other. And if gnomes are hominids, then what part of our understanding of hominid evolution makes the existence of tiny hominids in Iceland likely? Maybe these gnomes are the descendants the original human settlers in Iceland? Ok, so where is your evidence for that, and how likely is it that such extreme miniaturization occurred in a few hundred years?

    Also, what do they eat? How do they reproduce? Where are they all day?

    As soon as we started to talk about the DETAILS, the sheer preposterousness of the gnome claim was finally laid bare.
    Of course, she then pushed back on the assumption that these gnomes were living; perhaps they were a “special type” of creature. As in magical? When I asked what that meant, I didn’t get much in the way of a reply.

    The conversation ended with the person basically accusing me of taking this “too seriously” and implying that I should let people have their harmless beliefs.

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:01 am | Permalink

      👽

    • Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:14 am | Permalink

      I think you did remarkably well there. By finding an area where this person was rational, and using that as a route to undermine her delusion — that was a clever approach!

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

        Thanks! The thing is though, I got the impression that she was more annoyed with me than anything else. It wasn’t “you know what, I didn’t really examine this as closely as I should have. Thanks for this bit of insight.” Rather, I was perceived as an asshole for trying to drill down into the belief.

        Yet, I was not really the one who brought up the subject in this conversation. It came about as part of a larger discussion concerning her perception that skeptical people like me are too narrow-minded and lacking of acceptance of other cultural views of reality,and it was she who challenged me with the “why not believe in elves/gnomes?” query. She actually could not think of any valid reasons other than arrogant dismissal of other cultures!

        Well, she got my reasons, and didn’t much appreciate them. This is why I am so selective now in the types of arguments I get into. They don’t seem to be that efficacious, and come with often significant social costs.

        • Steve Gerrard
          Posted May 7, 2014 at 10:49 pm | Permalink

          Yes, that can happen. Monty Python captured it this way:

          “Lions don’t molt.”

          “No, but penguins do. There, I’ve run rings around you logically.”

          “Oh, intercourse the penguin.”

    • NewEnglandBob
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:15 am | Permalink

      “I don’t think that people are stupid, but I do think that people are a bit lazy”

      Either way they don’t pay attention. I am on a jury for a trial. Every witness is asked to state their name and spell their last name. Half of the witnesses also spell their first name.

      • Dave
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

        “I once had an argument with an open-minded, wooish type over the fact that many people in Iceland believe in gnomes – literally little people who live among them”

        What a preposterous notion, and a disgraceful slur on the Icelandic people. I thought it was common knowledge that the little people who populate the Norse Otherworld are ELVES!!! You know, like Orlando Bloom in Lord of the Rings. Gnomes are little fat guys in pointy hats who sit on toadstools in the garden dangling a fishing rod. That accounts for their diet – which is fish, obviously.

        • Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

          You’re right, dammit. I need to get my fictional beings straight.

      • Posted May 7, 2014 at 6:11 pm | Permalink

        Doesn’t bode well for the defendant, I’d guess!

  19. Joaquin Closet
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    There is a not so fine line between lunacy and stupidity. Secondly, there will always be the Pareto principle at work anywhere you go in the world. Because of polls and other forms of mass media that allow us to get information such as this very quickly, we will always have 10 to 20% of people going off the deep end. I think the real reason why we are all disgusted about our fellow Americans is that there is hardly a day goes by that we don’t hear about some level of stupidity that is mind-boggling. It is one of the reasons why I try to steer clear of places like West Virginia and Texas.

  20. Jim Thomerson
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    So far as I have heard, the space alien abduction hypothesis has not been falsified.;-)

  21. James Walker
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 11:45 am | Permalink

    Silly pollsters. Don’t they know that it was humans from the future?

    http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0097883/

  22. Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:08 pm | Permalink

    In attendance at a family event the weekend following the report of the missing plane, I found myself in a conversation with a relative who moved away from our native state decades ago. The subject of state tax policy arose.

    Me: Given the cuts to education at all levels and the boneheaded thinking that produced them, I don’t expect critical thinking will be improved here.

    Relative: We could use more critical thinking everywhere. What do you think is going on with the missing airliner?

    Me: I have no idea. I saw a news report yesterday that Yuri Geller offered his services, and the Malaysian government is actually considering bringing him on.

    Relative (dead serious): What are they waiting for?

  23. compuholio
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    I don’t think we should take those results too seriously. It’s an online poll which is probably not representative. It is probably hard to get reliable data but what would interest me is the typical rate of troll votes in online polls.

    […] it is very likely (26%) or somewhat likely (40%) that the disappearance was due to actions taken by the pilots or crew members.

    Three thoughts:
    1. I cannot believe this event is still in the news (especially since there doesn’t seem to be new information)
    2. Why should I care about what random people on the internet think. Why is this news?
    3. The only correct answer to this question is: “I have no bloody idea.” Let the authorities work through that, and then let’s hear the results.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted May 8, 2014 at 3:05 am | Permalink

      Apparently it was a phone interview poll with over 1000 respondents, so a different set of biases applies.

  24. Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:56 pm | Permalink

    In order to see if some of the poll respondents are “messing with them”, the pollsters should include an obviously silly question, like “Do you believe that the plane was taken by Poseidon?”

    Then, if almost no one responds in the affirmitive to that but they do to the alien question, then we know that millions of people apparently thought, “Poseidon, don’t be ridiculous. Now aliens on the other hand…”

    • Filippo
      Posted May 7, 2014 at 3:04 pm | Permalink

      “Do you believe that the plane was taken by Poseidon?”

      No! It was taken by Neptune!

      • Doug
        Posted May 7, 2014 at 4:54 pm | Permalink

        It was the Kraken!

  25. Richard C
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 12:59 pm | Permalink

    I saw that too, and felt similarly embarrassed that I was reading CNN.

    It was in an article about the new phase of the search, which then started babbling about what their poll numbers show random Americans believe might have happened to the plane and whether it’ll ever be found.

    Only CNN would confuse the news with an episode of Family Feud.

  26. W.Benson
    Posted May 7, 2014 at 2:47 pm | Permalink

    On the other hand, the searchers seem to believe that God sent them six frequency-shifted blips that could be plugged into a computer program as a sign of their infallibility. Really, can’t anyone on the project think outside the box?

  27. Posted May 7, 2014 at 5:06 pm | Permalink

    Unfortunately, all aboard are most certainly lost in a crash. No survivors.

    In case I haven’t said it before here, my deepest condolences to the families and friends of all the people on board.

  28. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 2:15 am | Permalink

    Not just Americans who are illogical. We’ve all seen scenes of the families venting their anger at the Malaysian government for its confused handling of the affair but why? I think it’s just a scapegoat thing, they need to blame somebody. I’m not sure other countries would have done much better and if they had, would it have helped to save anyone on board the plane?

    One could blame Malaysia for the number of false leads and confused theories but that hardly seems fair since nobody else has any credible theory either.

  29. John Scanlon, FCD
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 3:06 am | Permalink

    I wonder if CNN even knows where Diego Garcia is.

  30. uglicoyote
    Posted May 8, 2014 at 3:24 pm | Permalink

    Reblogged this on The Road.


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