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Mike's Weekly Skeptic Rant



Actually, this should be "monthly" as that's about as much I write nowadays. Back in the old days, boy, when I walked to school, uphill both ways, I wrote so much. Now, everything is great and all problems are solved. ...What's that? I'm being told that'



Last Build Date: Wed, 17 Jan 2018 21:17:42 +0000

Copyright: Please have the courtesy to let me know if you plan on stealing my shit.
 



Rick Gerhardt - Floundering

Wed, 02 Nov 2016 14:23:00 +0000

Yes, I'm back for a second. Don't get used to it. This video just annoyed me on a day when I'm already in a bad mood and I couldn't find any good rebuttals on the internets. I had the time. Here we go.Well, this was painful to watch. Check it out if you can get through it below: width="320" height="266" class="YOUTUBE-iframe-video" data-thumbnail-src="https://i.ytimg.com/vi/O4WtwXOFTQo/0.jpg" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/O4WtwXOFTQo?feature=player_embedded" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>This, if you didn't figure, is biologist and Christian apologist Rick Gerhardt trying his hardest to wiggle around evidence for evolution in the form of the absurd length and route of the recurrent laryngeal nerve (RLN) in a giraffe. It's hard to watch, and remember that I just struggled through the season 7 premiere of The Walking Dead.I don't like seeing "scientists" like Gerhardt do stuff like this. It's disheartening. The blathering nonsensical ramblings about a, "...problematic mixing of tenses..." is just dumb. It's as though he and an aviation technologist were watching a plane fly overhead and the tech says, "Isn't it cool to just watch it fly by like that?" and Gerhardt responding, "Well, 'cool' is normally reserved for temperature and it's a bit informal for our usage today, so planes can't fly." For fuck's sake. His larger point is that the tense bit alludes to evolution making predictions, which he claims is not true. He doesn't seem to have known about the moth called X. morganii praedicta that Darwin himself made the prediction regarding the co-evolution of orchid and moth. Hm, odd. Actually, here is an article that outlines many of the predictions made by the Theory of Evolution. Check 'em out. They're pretty great.Gerhardt then explains that evolutionary scientists don't make predictions, they "glom onto" things and then "ad hoc - after the fact", jam them into their theory to make it make sense. If he could hold up a mirror to his argument, he'd see the bible leering back at him with sketchy eyes and furrowed brow. He says that it's disingenuous on Dawkins' part to claim predictive power that is not there. He nicely does not talk about the rest of the giraffe video where Dawkins and the others explain that, when you look at earlier ancestors like fish, you see the more direct path of the RLN from the brain (branching off the vagus nerve or cranial nerve X) and heading to the larynx. When you go to mammals who have more of a pronounced neck, the nerve retains its pathway around the heart vessels and back to the larynx in a somewhat elongated and unnecessary route. Once you get that to giraffes, the route becomes comically extended to the point of being just dumb. The way the nerve runs really only makes sense in the light of evolution via mutation and natural selection. Gerhardt gets out his shovel and digs though, saying that, "...no matter how contrary the evidence proves to be, evolutionary theory has a way of morphing no not only explain away that contrary evidence, but to claim it as support of the evidence (sic)." He then gives no examples of extraordinary (or just banal) "contrary evidence". He claims that the giraffe video is not a scientific argument, but that it is a philosophical or theological argument (coming from the guy who makes exclusively philosophical or theological arguments in this video). Again, he does not reference any of the anatomical points from the giraffe or the anatomist discussing it. He points out that Dawkins' expertise is in neither of those arenas - obviously, neither are Gerhardt's, but let's not talk about that. Jingly keys! (By the way, if you're not listening to God Awful Movies, you must begin immediately. It's fantastic and one of my weekly joys)This next one is amazing. He says that the claim of evolution routi[...]



Couple Few Quick Things

Mon, 28 Dec 2015 02:57:00 +0000

Well, really only one quick thing. It's odd that I missed this blog's 10 year anniversary on the fifth of December. Busy with life and whatnot, kids, jobs, family, friends, being annoyed at the things I used to get annoyed at and write about. I don't think to write much anymore.

Actually, that's not true. I think about writing all the time, I just don't do it. I keep seeing those James Patterson writing "master class" memes and think, "Yeah, I should totally write. I'm decent at it, semi-humorous, and maybe if I stick at it I could monetize." Then I get distracted or lazy (if I'm honest, it' usually the latter) and it doesn't get done. I'm the same way with podcasting; I keep thinking I should record some more episodes and get them up there and make it a priority. Then the three jobs call and my wife and kids need love and hugs and, dammit, I'm still learning guitar and other necessary skills (nunchuck skills).

Whine whine whine. Excuse excuse excuse.

I enjoy having this place - yes, I think of it as an actual place, like Heaven or Mordor - to drop in on and put thoughts to "paper". The content may change, however, as I'm moving away from skeptic thoughts. Those will always be there, of course, but they'll be in the background. I'll leave the preaching, such as it is, to the professionals. So, if you notice a bit of a tone change or content upgrade (shit, I hope it's viewed as an "up"grade), give it a whirl. If it's not your bag, that's kool and the gang. If it is, that's also kool.

Enjoy the rest of 2015 - it's been a bit of a shitshow for this fella - but we can make 2016 way the hell better. Thanks for still being here after a decade of (mostly pointless) ranting.(image)



Pulling the Triggers

Wed, 25 Nov 2015 05:40:00 +0000

"If someone tells me I've hurt their feelings, I say, 'I'm still waiting to hear what your point is.'" Christopher HitchensI don't like trigger warnings.I know, this likely won't make me popular with all the large hairpieces of the no-god-having, leftie-leaning groups, but it's just a fact. I think they're bullshit and they're disempowering people, keeping them from actually dealing with their problems. I mean, look at this article from the New York Times in March talking about the subject of triggers, rape, and colleges. If people were "triggered" by this presentation/dialogue they could go to a set-up "safe space" described as follows:The safe space, Ms. Byron explained, was intended to give people who might find comments “troubling” or “triggering,” a place to recuperate. The room was equipped with cookies, coloring books, bubbles, Play-Doh, calming music, pillows, blankets and a video of frolicking puppies, as well as students and staff members trained to deal with trauma.Sorry? I get that a small minority percentage of the audience might have to take a break and get their head out of the content for a minute, but what is with the childish nonsense? Play doh and bubbles? Are you serious? I thought colleges and universities were for young adults exploring ideas and learning about the world? Check out this quote from a person who made use of said "safe room":“I was feeling bombarded by a lot of viewpoints that really go against my dearly and closely held beliefs,”Yeah, welcome to university. As Denis Leary once said, "I thought I was going to be the starting centre fielder for the Boston Red Socks. Life sucks, get a fucking helmet." I'm sorry if I'm blunt and seemingly unsympathetic. I'm not unsympathetic at all. I teach first aid and CPR and recently at a course for a dental office we were going through the motions of CPR on the mannequins. We were obviously talking about doing the technique on people who present as dead - no heartbeat, no breathing - and that most of the people who have CPR done on them will, unfortunately, not make it. One of the attendees, I noticed, was welling up slightly with tears and certainly was not sharing in the occasional black humour that accompanies our presentation. At the conclusion, she quickly took her leave with moist eyes and a couple of the other office workers mentioned that she recently lost someone very close to her.I feel for that woman. She experienced loss and had to face a short course that dealt with death in a very up-front way. She was "triggered", but she got through it and was professional about it, albeit understandably with difficulty. I would argue that the fact that she got through the class likely helped her deal with the loss.The NYT article also makes the very valid point that: “I don’t see how you can have a therapeutic space that’s also an intellectual space...”and ...it’s disconcerting to see students clamor for a kind of intrusive supervision that would have outraged students a few generations ago.The former quote shows the incompatibility of the concepts we're dealing with here. "Safe" spaces just don't do well with intellectual discourse. You are going to be challenged to provide evidence for your position and if you can't, your argument is going to be thrown out with very little ceremony. You feelings be damned.The last four paragraphs illustrate just what backwards-thinking nonsense this sort of blanketing results in: college students feeling less "safe" than an artist whose comrades were gunned down in their workplace and who was traveling with (very necessary) bodyguards. I urge you to read the whole thing.Greta Christina (who I admire greatly but disagree with on this topic) wrote an article supportive of trigger warnings in Free Inquiry magazine (FI) (volume 35) wherein she argues that if the reader was supportive of "spoiler alerts" for movies then you should logically be in favor of "trigger warnings". In the most recent issue of FI there is a rebuttal article by Kristine[...]



Monk See, Monk Please Don't Do

Tue, 17 Nov 2015 14:59:00 +0000

A photo of a serene-looking, peaceful, orange-robed monk walking down a road in Southeast Asia somewhere. It's a picture that has ended up in the albums and picture files of thousands of travelers over the years. Much like Mother Theresa, these seemingly docile gentlemen can sometimes have an outward appearance that conflicts greatly with their actual beliefs and actions.

Monks in Burma are reacting more like our simian cousins than fellow humans with respect to the struggle of women in that country to have basic sex education and control of their lives. These are, obviously, extremist religious zealots who are trying to pass family planning laws to restrict the population growth of the Muslim community there because they are scared of a minority becoming a majority. Or they're just xenophobic. I'd put what little money I have (and I'd borrow a lot more) on the latter.

Funny story: There's no word for "vagina" in Burmese. Check this out -
The only “polite” term available for women who want or need to refer to that part of their anatomy translates as “woman’s body”
So, imagine being a woman with a health issue regarding that particular part of their anatomy and trying to describe it to a doctor, who also can't speak with any real precision.

Patient - "My body hurts."
Doctor - "Oh really? What seems to be the problem?"
Px - "Well, my body. My *lower* body. It hurts."
Dx - "Oh...um...is it...uh.... Oh, I'm sorry, I'm getting an urgent page to go...over there."

There is a passage in that Guardian article that sort of sums up what this is about, so I'll just quote it in full here:
Garments that have come into close contact with a woman’s lower half, such as the traditional htamein (a wraparound skirt worn by most women in Myanmar) or underpants, are considered unclean, even after they have been washed. They are also believed to have the ability to rob men of their hpoun – a concept that could roughly be translated as “masculine power”.
Perhaps I'm juvenile (Ok, we don't really have to suppose), but it makes me laugh that clothing in close proximity to a woman's vagina is thought to rob men of something pronounced, "poon". Weird that ideas like this come from a religion, I know. It's so rare that thought-cages espousing on-going lives and beliefs in power-stealing clothing would promote discrimination against women and minorities. Hm. Must be a one-off.

If you have a second, the Akhaya Women are doing good work in Burma trying to get women autonomy over their bodies and some semblance of respect in society. Oh, and get a damn word for vagina...just please don't go with, "va-jayjay".

(image)



Little Red Whiny Christians

Mon, 09 Nov 2015 02:22:00 +0000

Seriously. Is there *anything* these whiny bitches won't complain about? Red Starbucks cups? Those assholes should feel lucky that we don't put up giant billboards educating people about how you stole pagan traditions to insert your favorite widdle invisible Sky Daddy into an already existing and well established ceremony about the solstice...which is a real thing that has actual bearing on how we lived our lives for thousands of years.

Whinging about fuckin' red Starbucks cups. Get a goddamn helmet.(image)



Review: Islam and the Future of Tolerance

Wed, 28 Oct 2015 03:15:00 +0000

I just finished reading the dialogue book by Sam Harris and Maajid Nawaz, Islam and the Future of Tolerance and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's rare that reading a book brings the same interest that watching a debate will, but when the participants are both well-read, respectful of their partner in conversation, and willing to concede points made, it makes for a (not-surprising in this case) great page-turning.Harris brings up one of the points he made previously in The End of Faith where he criticized moderate believers by stating, "One of the problems with religion is that it creates in-group loyalty and out-group hostility, even when members of one's own group are behaving like psychopaths." This is a point well-worth listening to and one that Nawaz also recognizes. Only a few pages later, Nawaz goes through his "circles of Muslim believers" that Harris tried in vain to explain to Ben Affleck on Bill Maher's show. The explanation is great and very helpful in showing the layers of ideology and what those involved actually want to achieve.Another interesting tidbit that harkened back to Nawaz's previous book, Radical: My Journey out of Islamist Extremism, was his explanation of the four elements of recruitment to an ideological extreme. Reading a former star recruiter tell the details of how he worked with these elements was intriguing.Harris brings up the on-going problem of so-called "liberals" being sensitive to the point of extreme dishonesty and goes right to the brink of actually naming the people he refers to as, "the usual suspects". If you've listened Kyle Kulinski's interview of Harris (well worth the 2 hour time investment) you'll know exactly who he is talking about and why he is so (justifiably) testy. Harris also brings up a major issue with respect to internal reform within Islam, pointing out that moderation or interpretation of religious texts involves outside authority i.e. a source that originates from outside the "infallible" doctrines of the faith, which obviously would be a large problem for many devout Muslims (or any devout believer of any faith).Nawaz makes a great point regarding the reasons for having the conversation at all, pointing out that for a person to blow themselves up as well as anyone - man, woman, child - in the surrounding area and believe that this is a good thing with a positive outcome for all killed, you would need to have 100% commitment and belief in your doctrine. If a conversation, "can seed even 1 percent doubt, we may stop that suicide bomber." To change Islam, however, he admits that, "(A) complete overhaul of cultural identity patterns and a reformed scriptural approach is required." That is asking a lot of the world's Muslim population, but it is doable.Maajid Nawaz has, in my opinion, the line of the book where he states what should be the motto of all who attempt to have this sort of discussion in their own lives - privately or in public. "No idea is above scrutiny and no people are beneath dignity." Oftentimes, when a scientist is being interviewed, one of the last questions will be something along the lines of, "If you could correct one major misunderstanding about your profession or specialization, what would it be?" Well, with respect to atheists, we need a t-shirt slogan that shows we're not all (or even mostly) the snotty and condescending image so often portrayed in media; this one quotation, if things were right in the world, would be that t-shirt. Hell, I'll buy one right now.This short, interesting book is well worth the read and if you haven't picked it up yet, you should.Skeptical Rants and Comments on Society & News Stuffed to the Gills with Bad Language![...]



Update Type New Stuff

Mon, 05 Oct 2015 14:05:00 +0000

Wow. Look at this place. I miss it when I've been gone for so long. Blog still looks ok here, maybe I'll pop back and hang out for a little bit.

This chick blinded herself (though with the assistance of a "helpful" psychologist) to fulfill a lifelong desire to be disabled. I really have no comment on this except to think, fuck, there's a psychological disability where you're so *not* disabled that you want to be disabled. Weird.

The pope decided to meet with Kim Davis (if you don't know who Kim Davis is, you're awesome and we should hang out - you clearly have better things to do and that's where I'd like to be in life) and then almost immediately distanced himself from meeting with Kim Davis. We all know, however, just how committed to saving clumps of cells the Catholic church is because of Anjezë Gonxhe Bojaxhiu, the former "Mother" Theresa. She took in millions in donations - also the proceeds from criminal activity via the Duvaliers and Keating - and instead of spending that money on her "hospital", she forwarded it to the Vatican so they could fund the fight against women's rights, safe abortion access, and community health education. So let's not play like we're surprised that Francis met with this woman in Kentucky.

There was *another* mass shooting in the U.S. Dan Hodges, political commentator, said on Twitter, "In retrospect Sandy Hook marked the end of the US gun control debate. Once America decided killing children was bearable, it was over." Not much left to say after that. The truth just kind of stabs you in the chest and leaves the knife handle sticking out for all to see.

Donald Trump is in the U.S. GOP running for presidential candidate. There's really not a lot to comment on here, I just wanted a record of that statement on my blog for future laughs/weeping.

The insecure, wannabe bullies of the world, ISIS, destroyed the Arch of Triumph in the formerly protected UNESCO World Heritage Site of Palmyra, Syria this past Sunday (October 4). They took control of the city in May, beheaded the antiquities expert, and then started blowing shit up. There really needs to be more money put into R&D to get one of those Charles Xavier world-wide mind control devices to we can just get into the heads of all these ISIS morons and cause them great pain anytime they even ponder the idea of destroying historical sites. These dickheads must be stopped. They are the Nazis of our time. We have to take them seriously and get rid of them.

In slightly happier news, the Nobel Prizes are being handed out again and William Campbell & Satoshi Omura were awarded the prize for medicine. They jointly developed the drug Avermectin which helps save people from River Blindness and Lymphatic Filariasis. Saving lives and being awesome - that's what scientists are about.

I need some breakfast. Eggs is on the menu. Come on over and I'll make something delicious to make your mouth water.(image)



Medical Qi Gong = Marshmallow Foundations

Thu, 07 May 2015 03:21:00 +0000

Imagine you went to school to learn how to build houses. You went there and the instructors taught you about foundations, materials, framing, nailing patterns, sustainable and/or green technology, etc. There was along the way a little bit of weird talk about fringe stuff like making buildings out of "alternative materials" and how some people were amazing at doing it that way. Some instructors were all about those "alternatives".Of course, no government would ever actually let you build a house out of these materials. It wouldn't be safe and it certainly wouldn't stand up to the test of weather and actual building stresses. The supporters of these "alternatives", however, were convinced that not only were the "alternates" safe, they were better than "conventional" materials. They argued that the governments were impinging on their "freedom" to use whatever building materials they chose; if they want to pour a house foundation of marshmallow, they should be able to because look at the amount of shock absorption it would have! It would be damn earthquake-proof!Silly, right? The thing is, it's no more silly than what is being bandied about (and has been for decades) in medicine, particularly around the edges of health care. One major difference is that if you actually built a house foundation out of marshmallow, the building would not even get vertical. The failure would be so complete and catastrophic that denying it as anything else would be the ruining of anyone attempting such a ridiculous position.For a "modality" like homeopathy, however, it gains an amount of fake credibility because the effects - or, more correctly, non-effects - are interpreted as the patient (or should I say, "victim"?) getting better. Nevermind that homeopathy has been repeatedly, to the point of nausea, been shown to be ineffective for any condition. Nevermind that the implausibility of the basic workings of homeopathy would render any further investigation moot. Nevermind that if even the most elemental principle of homeopathy were proven true a Nobel Prize in chemistry would be given and textbooks the world over would be rewritten. The fact remains that it sometimes looks like it is effective, so it's still on shelves and recommended by gullible health-care providers to their trusting patients.For example, I work at a physiotherapy clinic doing massage therapy. Being an RMT (registered massage therapist) gets you invited to partake in loads of seminars for all sorts of wacky crap. One of the more recent emails I received was to see if I would like to take a "medical Qi Gong" course. If you're not sure what Qi Gong (aka Chi Kung) is, you're lucky, as it's one of the more pervasive and dumb forms of TCM or "traditional Chinese medicine". I use the word "medicine" very loosely there. Here is a video of an old news show purportedly showing a "chi master" demonstrating on his students: width="420" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/nu99GRUUN6Y" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Obviously, this is silliness at its most egregious. Willing students not wanting to make their teacher look foolish, an American who has "studied hard martial arts" but can't get even the rudimentary pieces of a throw together, and dumbfounded giggling hosts make for an embarrassing spectacle.Medical Qi Gong claims to use the so-called "energy" supposedly produced by these people to diagnose and treat sick people. It is pretty gross to think that seriously ill people can get taken in by parlour tricks, convinced to use them instead of actual medicine, and then get more sick or even die. Just ask Makayla Sault - oh, wait, you can't because she's dead due to leaving real medicine behind and using quack nonsense to try and treat cancer. I find it disgusting that a professional health organization in Canada is promoting fatuous crap as a way to "treat" sick and injured patients.H[...]



The Flu Babe

Sat, 18 Apr 2015 04:02:00 +0000

Way back in 2013, Vani Hari (aka the Food "Babe") decided to put her five cents worth of "research" into a post on whether or not you, dear reader, should get a flu shot. The results are exactly what you think they'd be if a seven year old asked their insane, conspiracy-theory-laden, drug-addled father about "chemicals". Her post, cryptically titled, "Should I Get The Flu Shot?" is a disastrous mess of out-dated "arguments" against a well-established public-health measure. She begins with the completely fucked-out tactic of referring to those who get immunized as "lemmings":This is why it is extremely important to understand the Flu Shot – I want you to think about what you are directly injecting into your bloodstream. Before you consider jumping off the ledge with other lemmings and taking this years Flu Shot Hm, I wonder what her position is on this issue? If we told her the ingredients were organic and slathered in kale, I'm sure she'd line up around the damn block to get three.Also, regarding the whole, "directly into your bloodstream" thing. If she took the same vast amounts of time to research her article that I did to write mine (approximately nine seconds), she may have come across page 9 of the CDC guidelines for vaccine administration where it says:There are only two routinely recommended IM sites for administration of vaccines, the vastus lateralis muscle (anterolateral thigh) and the deltoid muscle (upper arm). Injection at these sites reduces the chance of involving neural or vascular structures. The site depends on the age of the individual and the degree of muscle development.You'll note the attention to reducing the involvement of vascular structures, contrary to what Ms. Hari repeats in her article, "...the mainstream medical community, government agencies and pharmaceutical companies suggest that I directly inject these ingredients into my bloodstream? And I need do it every year until I die? Are you freaking kidding me?" No, we're not kidding. Oddly, you also need to ingest iron. I KNOW!! That same stuff that's in the railings on your goddamn stairs and in your CAR! She of course drags out the old, "the flu shot doesn't protect us anyway" argument. I find it amusing when flippant shit-heads start wailing about how people who have to do actual complex science and math to predict what strain(s) of influenza will be here at flu season get it wrong. Not completely wrong, but wrong enough to reduce efficacy a tad. A degree of protection still exists and that will be enough to protect some vulnerable populations (the very young, very old, and immuno-compromised) from maximum morbidity & mortality. But, hey, why protect those people? Food "Babe" seems to think they're worth just letting go. And people say atheists are lacking in emotion....Check this shit out:Q: Why do I have to get a Flu Shot every year? Aren’t vaccines suppose to immunize you for life? A: They have to continuously give you a flu shot, because it is not a real vaccine.Not a "real vaccine". C'mon, even Ernie knows this is bullshit! What are you sellin' over there, lady?More equine excrement:"...(W)hy do I need to get another shot if I got one last year? This is the way the pharmaceutical companies continue to make money off of you – The CDC says it “wears off.” And this brings me back to my previous point – if the flu vaccine were truly a vaccine – it wouldn’t wear off. Think about it – Once you get chicken pox as a child, your body develops antibodies to strengthen your immune system from ever getting chicken pox again.Ok, for the thousandth time - pharmaceutical companies don't really make a lot of money from vaccines. They make their money off of the drugs you take two, three, four times a day like heart meds, liver meds, blood pressure meds, and, of course, boner pills. Medication you take once a year do[...]



Makayla Sault Dies - Brian Clement Got Some Money

Tue, 20 Jan 2015 14:46:00 +0000

On November 18 of last year I wrote about an 11 year old Canadian aboriginal girl named Makayla Sault who had acute lymphoblastic leukemia or ALL. Her parents had ceased medical treatment because Makayla "had a vision of Jesus" and told the doctors that the chemotherapy was killing her, which, to be fair, is a normal child's reaction to a painful medical treatment. Parents are supposed to know better and do what is best for their child. They instead took her to a Florida quack farm called the Hippocratess Health Institute because of some bullshit peddler named Brian Clement. Makayla has died.I am not going to blame the parents. My feeling toward them is frustration and a wish that someone had gotten to them to explain the ins and outs of quackery, to explain how the processes of medicine and science work, and to show some skeptical support. My real vitriolic hate is aimed squarely at Brian Clement and his fucking quack farm. Leeches like Clement don't suck blood, they suck money from the pockets and savings of desperate people, preying on the sick and injured (and their families) in times of incalculable stress. Hope dwindles, the future looks bleak, and then the smiling, goateed face of Brian Clement shows up with promises of cures and miracles. "Just eat raw food, use homeopathy, and think positively! Leukemia isn't at all difficult to treat - *these* doctors just don't want you to know the cure because they're part of Big Pharma and all they care about is money." I have an irony device beside me that just melted and formed the letters "Fuck Brian Clement" in liquid on my floor.It is notable that the family says that Makayla died because of the effects of chemotherapy and that the damage done by the treatment was what caused her stroke. An oncologist from McMaster University, however, said that Makayla had suffered a relapse back in September of 2014 and took the family to court to have Children's Aid Society (CAS) remove Makayla from custody and have the treatment continued because it had an 85-90% chance of curing her. The hospital lost the case and Makayla was taken into the waiting arms of the quacks.The fraud bullshit salesman, Clement, came to Canada to talk about his stupid money scheme to fleece the ill and said this (my comments in italics):"Eat a raw plant-based organic diet...This is how we've seen thousands and thousands of people reverse stage four 'catastrophic' cancer...Change your lifestyle first with your attitude. Be positive." If eating fucking raw food and thinking positively cured cancer, real doctors would have figured it out decades ago and would have been using it in hospitals. What a fucking disgusting toolbag.(P)atients are advised to make sure they don't do things that "contaminate you and pollute you." I guess "contaminating" and "polluting" their minds with bullshit is an exception Clement is ok with. "Your immune system is what heals you...There is no magic in this process. It's common sense. If you use common sense and what we've learned here at Hippocrates for six decades, you are going to have the same results so many others have." Yeah, if the result you're looking for is to be dead.What a tremendously ignorant piece of shit. When people say that doctors are arrogant, that hospitals want you to be sick, or that Big Pharma is only about making money, it shows what good marketing the woo peddlers have because those statements can be applied ten times over to the "alternative" medicine world and its practitioners. The arrogance of having no positive (or ANY) clinical trials or even basic understanding of physiology and still claiming that their nonsense can out-perform treatments that help people survive these diseases makes the arrogance of real doctors look like nothing. It's sickening.I am sad for Makayla's family, but they seem to have comfort[...]



Brian Dalton aka Mr. Deity Nails It

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 17:59:00 +0000

Stepping out from his Mr. Deity persona, Brian Dalton defends his fellow satirists and gives the Pope a decidedly necessary verbal beating regarding Frank's recent statements about punching people who offend him. Please to enjoy.
width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/6xDnxv6eFNg" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>(image)



Raif Badawi - Prisoner of Conscience

Fri, 16 Jan 2015 15:20:00 +0000

Imagine writing something. Imagine that what you wrote was a form of criticism against a system you thought unfair and wrong. You criticized the leaders of this system.Then the leaders get wind of what you have written, arrest you, charge you with apostasy, and sentence you to 10 years in prison, a fine, and 1000 lashes. The lashes are to be given in doses of 50, once a week for 20 weeks.Think about that for a minute. One thousand lashes. Now think about Raif Badawi, a Saudi blogger who had just this situation fall upon him and who, today, was due to have the second 50 lashes of his 1000 but it had to be postponed due to health reasons. The "health reasons" are that the first 50 from last Friday had not healed enough for him to withstand more. To refer to this punishment as "barbaric" is an understatement. Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein, a member of the Jordanian royal family said of the sentence:“Flogging is, in my view, at the very least, a form of cruel and inhuman punishment...Such punishment is prohibited under international human rights law, in particular the convention against torture, which Saudi Arabia has ratified. I appeal to the king of Saudi Arabia to exercise his power to halt the public flogging by pardoning Mr Badawi, and to urgently review this type of extraordinarily harsh penalty.”Not only was Mr. Badawi sentenced to a ridiculously harsh series of punishments, but his lawyer (and brother-in-law) Waleed Abu Al-Khair, was found guilty on charges that included offending the judiciary and founding an unlicensed organisation and his original sentence of 10 years in prison was increased to 15 years. Imagine living in a place, under such a weak system, that "offending the judiciary" was considered a crime worth 15 years of punishment. The rulers of Saudi Arabia should be ashamed of harkening back to an age of darkness for horrific "solutions" to non-problems. Canada, where Badawi's wife and children live presently, is concerned about the floggings and has, "made representations to Saudi Arabia’s Ambassador in Ottawa, and Canada’s Ambassador in Riyadh has met with the Chair of the Human Rights Commission and has sought a meeting with the Government of Saudi Arabia". This translates to very little in actual help for Mr. Badawi. Having an "ongoing, respectful dialogue" with Saudi Arabia can include telling them that what they are engaging in is inhuman and cruel, that they should cease torturing prisoners with (to say it as mildly as possible) questionable criminal credentials, and that there could be policy implications in the future if this behavior continues.But you will, of course, excuse me if I don't hold my breath while I wait.Kate Allen, UK director of Amnesty International, spoke about Badawi's case and what should happen there:“David Cameron and his ministers should have the courage of their convictions and say – loud and clear – that Raif Badawi’s case is an absolute disgrace, that this weekly flogging should be halted and he should be freed from jail...At the very least the Foreign Office should be calling in the Saudi ambassador and telling him this in person if they haven’t already done so.”I guess having the oil makes the political puffy chests fade into the back of the room until the dust settles and the next shiny news item grabs the attention of the population.Hey, how are those Boko Haram assholes doing? We've handled them, right? Ohhh...damn....Skeptical Rants and Comments on Society & News Stuffed to the Gills with Bad Language![...]



Not Very Popely..."Poply"? No, "Popely".

Thu, 15 Jan 2015 14:55:00 +0000

Media darling and sometime delighter of the non-religious for his seemingly liberal announcements, Pope Francis recently said something much more in line to what we think of when religious faith is concerned.
"One cannot provoke, one cannot insult other people's faith, one cannot make fun of faith...There is a limit. Every religion has its dignity...in freedom of expression there are limits...If my good friend (Vatican aide Dr. Alberto) Gasparri says a curse word against my mother, then a punch awaits him,"
He followed that gem up with another that seemingly contradicts itself:
“One cannot react violently, but if (someone) says something bad about my mother, he can expect a punch. It’s to be expected,...There are a lot of people who speak badly about other religions. They make fun of them. What happens is what happens with my friend (who insults my mother). There is a limit.”
So are people supposed to react violently or not? Does Frank consider punching a person for talking about his mother a violent reaction? So confusing. And what about that whole Matthew 5:39, 5:44 thing? Out the window?

Thankfully, Frank also said, “no one can kill in the name of God. This is an aberration.” While I am happy that this is his opinion, it is sort of unsupportable in the light of his own source material. I mean, saying that no one should kill in the name of god is just crazy when you look at the cruelty and violence in the bible. I know he's the go-to guy for Catholics with respect to this stuff, but he might need a refresher course or something.

Additionally, I wonder if implying that Islam is a "deviant form of religion" counts as "making fun" of it? In a National Post article from January 13, 2015, Frank said about the Charlie Hebdo attack:
“Religious fundamentalism, even before it eliminates human beings by perpetrating horrendous killings, eliminates God himself, turning him into a mere ideological pretext...Losing their freedom, people become enslaved, whether to the latest fads, or to power, money, or even deviant forms of religion,”
Hm, that really sounds sort of insulting to Islam. He might want to prepare because, by his own logic, he just might have a "punch" coming.

#JustSayin
(image)



Parce que la liberté d'expression est extrêmement important: Je Suis Charlie.

Wed, 14 Jan 2015 05:15:00 +0000

When, on January 7 of this year, Islamic extremist cowards entered the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo's office and opened fire, ultimately killing 12 people, the world was once again rocked by the "religion of peace" flexing its atrophied muscle. Nothing highlights how lame a belief system's arguments are than the resorting to violence of its acolytes. We also see this in the recent story of Pastor Eric Dammann who punched a "bright kid...which made him dangerous" in the chest as hard as he could because Ben, the kid, wasn't taking the Lord serious (sic). At least it was a punch and not a gun, I guess. I was unaware of the existence of Charlie Hebdo until the recent attack and murder. I would venture to say that many of the users of the #JeSuisCharlie hashtag on Twitter were also in the same boat, but because of the moronic and predictably ultra-violent reaction of the extremists, they are experiencing the Streisand Effect to its fullest. Way to go, dumbasses.This was not the first attack on the magazine's offices. In 2011 the building was firebombed by...who do you think? If you said offended Jews, I'm sorry but you're wrong. It was the Muslim dickheads again, but it resulted in one of the most famous covers for Charlie Hebdo: the kissing one.Love is stronger than hate, indeed.There are a ton of cartoons that you can see here if you want to check them out. A lot of them are great, like this one: Or the most recent cover: It's important to republish these wherever we can, and not just because it annoys Muslims. No, offending individual Muslims is not the goal; the goal is to further free speech and free expression. As Christopher Hitchens once said, "If someone tells me that I've hurt their feelings, I say, 'Well I'm still waiting to hear what your point is'." As has been said a million times before but bears repeating, obviously, again - You do not have the right to NOT be offended.A separate bit of disgusting revisionism took place at an ultra orthodox Jewish newspaper, The Announcer, where they both cropped and photoshopped (poorly) female leaders (German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo, EU foreign affairs and security chief Frederica Mogherini, and Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt) out of a historic picture of politicians marching in support of France and the Charlie Hebdo victims. Ham-handed, misogynistic, and inexcusable actions by supposedly godly men. So, in light of that unpleasantness, here's another Charlie Hebdo cartoon that shows both Muslims and Jews:There are some who have criticized those who have republished the critical-of-Islam cartoons saying that we should be publishing all of the offensive cartoons so as to not isolate Muslims and contribute to "islamophobia". I would reply to that by saying that if Christian extremists went into those offices and shot up the place, killing cartoonists, I'd be republishing the anti-Christian drawings. If there were a couple of Hindu shitheads who took up the fight for some group and blasted 12 writers/cartoonists to their deaths, I'd be publishing anti-Hindu drawings. I do agree with them that all religious texts are nonsense and should be treated with contempt. Here's what CB writers/illustrators did on that front:Funny how no one freaked out or shot anyone over this image, huh? Weird....The fact that it was Muslim extremists who committed this horrible crime makes it inevitable that the republication of any cartoons will be of the anti-Islam variety (except, obviously, for the anti-Jewish one up there for the photoshopping bullshit). I may not agree with the writers/illustrators of Charlie Hebdo, but they are correct in that free speech is a right that must be protected and t[...]



Aw, Homeopaths are Mad They Don't Get to Treat Ebola

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 04:52:00 +0000

I'm not going to get into this that much because, well, it's just too stupid a topic on which to waste my time. Besides, as usual, Orac has beaten me to it and done a better job than I ever could. I just read this Buzzfeed article and thought, "holy shit, seriously?" No wonder ebola spread so quickly, if these jagoffs were over there "helping". I guess homeopaths in Rwanda would have just handed out little super-tiny machetes in the hopes of stopping the genocide and bringing peace back between the Tutsis and Hutus. Jesus, trying to cure ebola with homeopathy is like trying to fix a severed arm with a butterfly; nonsensical and ineffective.

I bet Dana Ullman is spouting off on twitter about this and calling a lot of people "ignorant".(image)



Brian Clement and the Hippocrates Death Institute

Tue, 25 Nov 2014 04:35:00 +0000

I am trying to rein in my tendency of being abrasive and full of unnecessary ad-hominems. I really am. On occasions such as this, however, the venom I shall spit is entirely justified and, in a few short paragraphs, I hope you will agree with me. If not, there are other web-logs to read.I am going to talk about Brian Clement. "Who is Brian Clement?", you may ask. He is the co-director of the Hippocrates Health Institute in Florida where the two First Nations girls mentioned in my previous post were taken for "treatment". He is a shithead, and I do not use that word lightly. Any person who convinces a mother to take her 11 year old out of the hospital where she is being treated for acute lymphoblastic leukemia (with a predicted 90-95% recovery rate) and "treat" her with nonsense so she will, in all likelihood, die from her disease, is a tremendous shithead.Please take a read of this excerpt from an interview with noted quack bullshit peddler, Joe Mercola: Joe Mercola: "The FDA doesn’t view food as a medicine, but I’m wondering if you could comment on your experiences. Because I believe it can be, just as exercise is a medicine. But food is probably 400 percent more potent than exercise. Not that it’s either one or the other; you need both, of course. But if you’re only going to use one, I think it’s food. Can you give us your comments on that concept?"Brian Clement: "Well, I have written, as you know, a series of books for the academic community called Food Is Medicine: The Scientific Evidence, reflecting what we’ve learned here for six decades. I did this specifically for the academics because they tend to be the most arrogant. They tend to be the most close-minded, the ones that literally think they know. When you think you know, you don’t learn. The bottom line is when I would be out at a medical conference speaking and giving case studies of people who reversed catastrophic disease that is commonly understood in mainstream medicine to be zero success, they would challenge me. They’ll say, “Give me the data.” I felt confused at that point because I said to them, “We don’t have the billions to do the research. We don’t have a research team. We don’t have statisticians.” But finally, a few years ago, I said, “Wait a minute, let me see if there’s enough evidence that I could scratch off out of mainstream universities to support what we’ve been doing here.” I was stunned. I could literally retire from the directorship and I stopped at 1,200 pages, three volumes. I could go on forever."Firstly, Mercola "thinks" food is more important than exercise? Really? If you're going to use one out of either food or exercise, you "think" food is the better choice?" For fuck's sake, Mercola, you're really going out on a limb there.Secondly, I love how this guy who, by all accounts, has his "accreditations" from diploma mills and has no actual schooling on the relevant material and is the one claiming that cancer is "not difficult to treat", calls academics "arrogant". Hysterical, and that leads into one of the best irony-machine-exploding phrases I've heard in a while: "When you think you know, you don’t learn." Yeah, exactly. How's that mirror look to you?But, lo and behold, he then looks around and there's a ton of evidence that the bullshit he's peddling actually works! It works, I tell you! I mean, he says that he could, "...write books until the day I die on those so many volumes of evidential science and empirical evidence coming out of research." Ok, so no one's asking for that. A guy has to relax a bit from time to time. Just write one. One good one that's convincing; [...]



Tragic Case of "Rights"

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 17:11:00 +0000

A recent court decision in Brampton, Ontario means that an 11 year old First Nations Mohawk girl will likely die a very preventable death. The argument is that First Nations people have the right to use their "traditional medicines" to treat illnesses and diseases, even if that means eschewing actual, proven medicine in the face of a deadly condition.This is utter nonsense. The government should step in to protect the life of the afflicted girl regardless of the justifications Justice Gethin Edward talks about. To quote from the article:Evidence showed the mother from Six Nations reserve is “deeply committed to her longhouse beliefs and her belief that traditional medicines work,...This is not an eleventh-hour epiphany employed to take her daughter out of the rigours of chemotherapy,...Rather it is a decision made by a mother, on behalf of a daughter she truly loves, steeped in a practice that has been rooted in their culture from its beginnings.”If I may take this quote apart a bit, what the judge doesn't care about is that it really doesn't matter at all how evidence shows that the mother is committed to her beliefs that traditional medicines work. It matters if they actually work. What if my daughter gets acute lymphoblastic leukemia and I am committed to the belief that making her dust the house and eat nothing but Quaker instant oatmeal (only the maple brown sugar type) and water will cure the disease? Will I get applause from an audience in a court room for obtaining the right to "treat" my daughter with the aforementioned protocol?The answer is "no". Just because an idea is tenacious doesn't mean that it's worthy, if I may quote Tim Minchin. We must allow adults to seek out whatever treatment or "treatment" they want as part of their freedom of choice, expression, and religion, but we need to make sure that children are given the best possible path to make it to adulthood so they can receive those freedoms. Chief Ava Hill was happy about the ruling saying, "This is monumental for our people right across the country, and we’re going to get the news out right away,...We were the first people here, we looked after ourselves, we had our traditional medicines. We looked after your ancestors when they arrived here, and what medicines do you think we used?”" Just to be clear, "looking after" is in no way the same as, "curing" or "increasing lifespan". You can "look after" a person and if they're sufficiently sick, they'll die. As I've said before, adding any modifier before the word "medicine" such as "traditional", "alternative" or "naturopathic" will, in all likelihood, decrease its efficacy substantially.This family and the family of another First Nations 11 year old girl, Makayla Sault, have also travelled to a Florida clinic that claims to be able to treat cancer but is astoundingly full of woo and nonsense. This "clinic" is the definition of the kind of mentality from which we as a hopefully-advancing-species have to save our young people. It is abysmal and no one under 21 should be allowed on the grounds of this quackery farm.I truly hope that both the girl in the court decision and Makayla Sault can go into spontaneous remission and somehow, against all odds, recover. My fear is that they will both have recurrences, receive "traditional" medicine, and die soon afterwards. Will the media cover those stories as follow-up? Will anyone listen then? The only certainty in these terrible situations is that "traditional" medicines will sadly be touted as valid for a long time to come.Skeptical Rants and Comments on Society & News Stuffed to the Gills with Bad Langua[...]



Ugh, Rick Warren Talking About Marriage

Tue, 18 Nov 2014 15:33:00 +0000

Pastor Rick Warren is speaking at the Vatican conference on marriage called "The Complementarity of Man and Woman: An International Colloquium". There's a ton of people attending, but one thing can be pretty much assured: the gays ain't welcomed, especially if they're havin' that gay sex.

Warren said in an interview that, "It's not a sin to love somebody, but it might be a sin to have sex with them." (quote comes at the 2:00min mark of the video) He also said that as an evangelical pastor, his source of authority is the Bible, but it says quite clearly there that homosexuality is bad and that gay people who have sex with each other should be killed.
Lev. 20:13 If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them.
Can't really argue with that. It also says immediately after that that if a man has sex with a woman and her mother, they should all be burnt. So I guess if the allegations are true, Mackenzie Phillips, John Phillips, and Susan Adams should be murdered. Wonder why that's not happening or if Warren thinks it should?

Helen Alvaré is the spokesperson for the event and is quoted as saying:
“Many believe that people talk about the relationship between men and woman all of the time,...That conversation is not very deep; it is usually about the troubles they are having, or about sex, but it doesn’t go deeper, to consider the meaning and purpose in the world and in the divine plan, of there being two sexes, drawn to one another, capable of a ‘one-flesh’ union, responsible for the creation of all new life.”
Yes, I realize that she's a devout Catholic whose views seem quite close to the party line, but who says there even is a "divine plan"? From where is she (or any of them) getting this plan? There's enough gayness in the Bible (even though it is, apparently, icky) that religious people shouldn't really be upset about it. Jonathan and David, for example (1 Samuel, chapters 18-23).

In reality, I don't care if religious people get together to chat about what they think marriage should be about. Who cares? Their ideas are dying, the rational people are getting the message out that religious views are nonsensical and silly, and as enlightenment values spread and the internet makes information easy to fact-check, sanctimonious blowhards will find fewer and fewer places to disseminate their hate-inciting fatuities.

Go do your talk, Mr. Warren. Polish the brass as the ship sinks.(image)



Pope Francis is Awesome! Except, Yeah, Not.

Fri, 07 Nov 2014 02:15:00 +0000

"Oh, he's so great. He thinks gays are just dandy." Except he leads a group of jackasses who, well, let's just say "don't agree". In fact they that, "there can be 'not even a remote' comparison between gay unions and heterosexual marriage".

"But this Pope believes in evolution!" Well, everyone who thinks this is news, perhaps you should check what Pius XII wrote in 1950 and JPII said in the 90's. No change there. Evolution happened, but Special Jesus Man started everything off, so cut it out with that Large Hadron Collider thingy trying to figure out the universe.

See, the trouble is that, even if he did make some bold statement on evolution or gay marriage/equality/humanity, it would likely be for invalid, wrong-headed reasons. I mean, take a look at this article talking about, of all damn things, exorcisms. I've written about exorcisms before and the gent who started the IAE (that's the International Association of Exorcists...they have a convention - wanna bet there's booze and tall tales?), Gabriele Amorth.

It's pretty crazy that the article says, "Priests who pursue the ministry of exorcism 'manifest the Church's love and acceptance of those who suffer because of the devil's works...'" That's a sentence more at home spouting from Helen Ukpabio's child-endangering lips. So many people believe in witchcraft that it really makes me doubt the ability of humanity to survive the coming decades. Read what Dwight Longenecker, a priest in South Carolina, said in the exorcist article, "Exorcism is a little bit like brain surgery in the spiritual realm..." No. Not in any way at all. At all. It's depressing to read that.

I don't really care if Francis "believes" in evolution, or if he thinks gay people are awesome, or whatever; if he thinks that there are demons living in certain people's heads and making them do things, then his brain is stuck in the deep past and that's where it seems it's going to stay. (image)



Who Knew the Lucky Charms Guy Grew Up and is a Total Dick?

Fri, 26 Sep 2014 16:23:00 +0000

Not sure how many people saw this article, but wow. It boggles my mind how someone can grow up to be as old as that fucking guy is and be *that* much of a horsecock.

In case you didn't click through and read the article, some shithead on a TTC was sitting on one seat and had his bag on another, then when a woman asked him to move his bag so she could sit, he refused, called her an "airhead", then allegedly stomped on her foot and shoved her into some other people on the bus.

Now, this sucks and is inexcusable behavior and this clown-shoe motherfucker will eventually be found and certainly some more public shaming will occur. The problem is that he won't give a damn because he's a shit-head. My question is, why, on a crowded bus, did no one (save one person who said something like, "what the fuck, man?") do or say anything directly to this jackass? Social media shaming is, in the end, pointless, because it's not to the guy's face. Much like this blog post - nine people will read it and then go have a coffee, so it's yelling into a void.

Had the people on the bus gotten in that dude's face, shamed him right there, and forced him off the bus to walk his green-shirted ass home, *maybe* there would have been a *slight* amount of recognition that what he did was socially unacceptable. As it is, he's just getting attention. His jerkoff buddies will probably high-5 him and he knows that the next time he does it, likely no one will step up and do anything.

By the way, I'm not advocating anything violent here. Sure he may *need* a hard smack in the face, but that won't teach him anything about what to *do* differently, how to *act* differently. That'll just teach him to watch who's around the next time his shithead valve gets to "dump" mode. No, people needed to, en masse, confront him and tell him that what he was doing was not ok. He's not going to stomp on everyone's foot and he's certainly not going to shove everyone. Make him pick up his bag just as though he was a little kid, because that's what he's acting like. If he doesn't, then force him off the bus. Make his actions have consequence. Everyone on the bus could have made him leave.

As George Carlin once said to Dennis Miller, ...it's a macro idea...I'm just living in a different kind of world." - everyone has to do it. It's not reality because most people don't want to get involved, even when the offense is egregious and happening right in front of them.

A giant boo to that leprechaun fuckwit, but also boo to everyone on that bus who did nothing.(image)



Gary Goodyear in Parliament in 2008 - Translated

Wed, 16 Apr 2014 14:31:00 +0000

Gary Goodyear speaking in 2008 in the House of Parliament on Bill C-51 (An Act to amend the Food and Drugs Act and to make consequential amendments to other Acts). Please allow me to translate select sections of his speech: "Many members in the House know, and most people in my riding of Cambridge know, that I was a chiropractor for 20 years." "I think that 'vital knowledge' flows through your body and by 'adjusting' vertebrae I can free this 'flow' and enhance the body's 'innate intelligence' to heal itself. I have no idea how science works.""In 2005, a Health Canada survey showed that 71% of Canadians regularly took vitamins and minerals, herbal remedies, homeopathic treatments, and naturopathic treatments." "I will use non-sequitur 'facts' and statistics to back up my nonexistent argument to attempt to sway the opinion of those MPs who also don't know how science works.""In fact, we have known for decades that a vast percentage of the Canadian population use non-traditional forms of medicine, whether they are chiropractors, naturopaths, homeopaths, or reflexologists, all of these being outside the traditional allopathic course of action." "Because I don't know about logical fallacies, I shall use the 'argument from popularity' to persuade other MPs that bullshit like homeopathy and reflexology are in some way effective, that naturopathy is something other than absolute quackery, and I will use words like 'allopathic' to show that I don't realize that there is only one actual factor in science: the efficacy of the proposed modality, which all the above fail at spectacularly.""These products can decrease the cost to the public purse significantly." "These products will initially seem to decrease cost to the public purse; that is, until these products don't work and the patients will have to go see a real doctor in a real hospital to treat their real condition with real medicine at a later date, likely when their condition(s) has/have deteriorated to the point where the interventions will be considered 'life-saving' rather than 'preventative'. The patients will then either get better at a higher cost than had they just used real medicine in the first place, or they'll die at which point they won't be able to bad-mouth bullshit 'therapies' like homeopathy.""As a member whose past history is that of a chiropractor, I want to support the demand that Canadians have for a broader choice but for safe and effective natural health products." "As a member who has no formal training in science whatsoever, I also don't have a clue how to evaluate 'safety' or 'efficacy' within the context of a medical intervention. I will, however, comment on it at length with a sense of authority."It is important that natural health products be regulated to protect Canadians, and no one argues that. There are clear examples where tainted products have been found not just among natural health products but even among prescription medication. "Protecting the voters is important and bad things happen all over, man. All over.""Sometimes it happens that products have something in them that makes them unsafe. Everyone will remember the Tylenol incident of a decade ago where some of those products had to be removed from the market very quickly because they had been tampered with". "Sometimes products hurt people because they have contaminants in them, like that Tylenol thing. Pharmaceuticals. Bleah, amiright?""The other issue is that Canadians deserve to know what is in the bottle." "I have a hilarious inab[...]



Thanks to You, Dr. Phil Plait

Mon, 14 Apr 2014 15:11:00 +0000

The always great Phil Plait wrote a piece on his always great blog over at Slate about Jenny McCarthy and her nonsensical and unsupportable stance on vaccines being somehow dangerous. I'm posting quickly to say thank you to the good Ph.D for linking to one of my previous posts on Ms. McCarthy in his article. I have been *so* *very* *slack* in writing here over the past year that I have thought about hanging up the blogging gloves permanently, but something always stops me from pulling the plug completely. I think that's a sign (or might be, if I thought "signs" were a thing).

Let's do some skeptiking together, shall we? Yes, let's.(image)



Naturopaths in Ontario

Wed, 26 Feb 2014 18:47:00 +0000

A buddy of mine hipped me to this article which talks about how regulated naturopathic clinics look like they're coming to Ontario as they have in other provinces, starting with British Columbia in 2010.The article has some interesting quotes that I would like to examine a bit. Firstly, there's this one:The intern overseeing Ms. Degabriele’s care is garbed in a crisp white lab coat. So is the clinic’s lead supervisor, Jonathan Tokiwa, who bustles around toting patient files, a stethoscope slung around his neck.I can put a white lab coat on my four year old and hang a stethoscope around his neck, that doesn't make him a doctor. What is on the outside is irrelevant, it's the methodologies they use to diagnose and treat you that are important. Dressing up nonsense doesn't make it valid, it just make it a pile of shit covered with icing.Next is this:Those who support expanding the scope of practice say Canadian naturopaths, who require at least seven years of post-secondary education to earn a licence, can help alleviate the burden of chronic, lifestyle-related diseases using natural techniques such as dietary advice, vitamin treatments, herbs, teas, acupuncture, traditional Chinese medicine, water therapy and homeopathy, among others.Ok, about the "seven years of post-secondary education": if you spend seven years learning that your body has "innate wisdom" and that you need to find something that causes the same looking symptoms to what your patient has and then dilute that substance in water beyond Avogadro's limit and put a drop of that liquid on a sugar pill to cure what ails the patient, you've only succeeded in wasting money and seven years. You can study phrenology for 20 years, you're not going to help anyone. width="420" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/i3u2mBVFEHc" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Also, the "argument" that these people can alleviate the burden on the healthcare system is laughable. So you're going to give acupuncture, TCM, homeopathy and other bogus "therapies" to people in need? There is no other field where this would even be given the time of day. Imagine if someone wanted to approach the Ontario Building Code to offer the "alternative" of letting people choose to build the foundation of their houses out of Lego blocks. C'mon, man, it's a viable alternative! A lot of people would WANT that in their homes! The blocks are literally FOR building! It's stupid and don't even start with the, "But there are studies that show that homeopathy/acupuncture/herbal medicines/Bach floral remedies/crystals/ear candling/reiki/chiropractic/reflexology/coffee enemas/therapeutic touch/my personal favorite remedy actually WORKS, man!" When you look at the entire body of research (as you're supposed to), and take only the best quality/size/controlled studies, the mass majority of them show that your pet theory is not viable. If it was viable or worked in any sort of reliable/repeatable/testable way, it would be used and it would be the norm. The fact that it is not tells you that the people who do medicine for their lives know bullshit when they see/smell it."But it's a conspiracy, man, of all the Big Pharma companies, man, to keep us sick and dependant on their poisons, maaaaaannnnn." No, it isn't. Pharmaceutical companies have, to a large degree, a bunch of douchebags working for them who only give a shit about money, BUT - don't for get that the best, the absolute BEST way to get famous and well[...]



Missouri and the Embarrassment that is Bill Brattin

Fri, 14 Feb 2014 14:59:00 +0000

Can you even imagine your kid going to a school, and in that school the science teachers got together and decided to take a radical stance and teach Heliocentrism, the idea that the Earth and all the other planets in our solar system went around the Sun? The science teachers, through the school, then had to send a notification home to let parents know what a crazy idea was being taught to their sons/daughters so that the parents could get their kids to "opt out" of being instructed in this subject so as to keep their belief that the Earth is the centre of the solar system (nay, THE UNIVERSE!) intact.Insane, right?Well the equivalent is happening right now in Missouri. State Rep. Rick Brattin (what letter do you suppose came after his name in brackets denoting to which political party he belongs? Hmm...) was quoted as saying:"Our schools basically mandate that we teach one side...It is an indoctrination because it is not objective approach."One side. It boggles the mind how insular the population is that believes in creationism. There is nothing getting inside from popular culture, and this is the proof. The 22 Signs from Creationists after the Bill Nye/Ken Ham "debate" are face-palmingly soul-destroying in both their (mostly) dumbness and for their having been discussed/refuted thoroughly at length previously. Yet, there they are, smugly holding their signs asking about why monkeys are still here and how the second law of thermodynamics "disproves" evolution. Side note: if anyone ever tries that on you, ask them, "What are the other laws of thermodynamics?"Brattin then said: “What’s being taught is just as much faith and, you know, just as much pulled out of the air as, say, any religion."Well there it is, hey? Just dangling out there all pink and naked. He says that religion is, "pulled out of the air." He has not, apparently, been doing any science reading and he certainly hasn't taken any classes on evolutionary biology.Can you imagine someone who has never driven a car, never looked at a combustion engine, never even driven in a car, trying to tell a 30 year veteran mechanic that the engines in all the cars on the road run on the urine of Unicorns and the so-called "exhaust" is nothing and doesn't exist? The insanity of that assertion is almost on par with what the creationists are actually saying.Many people think that the Nye/Ham "debate" wasn't worth it because no minds were likely to be changed and it unfairly put creationism on level ground with actual science. I don't think it did the latter because the hundreds of thousands of people watching online (was this the most-viewed "debate" ever?) may have included just a couple of actually open-minded people (unlike Ken Ham) who would have seen how poorly Ham did against Nye, and may have had some questions brought up in their heads that they will now go check into. If a couple of people question the nonsense and investigate, it was worth it in my mind. We're certainly unlikely to change this woman's brainwashed opinion. src="https://www.flickr.com/photos/34748338@N00/12521448253/player/c034ac45be" height="483" width="500" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen webkitallowfullscreen mozallowfullscreen oallowfullscreen msallowfullscreen>Skeptical Rants and Comments on Society & News Stuffed to the Gills with Bad Language![...]



Snoop Dogg

Tue, 04 Feb 2014 14:50:00 +0000

The term "low-hanging fruit" comes to mind when I watch the linked video below.
width="560" height="315" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/mTU-uXdEq84" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>
I find it hysterical that our favorite homeopathic apologist, Dana Ullman, linked to this clip with the comment:
Dana Ullman, MPH CCH ‏@HomeopathicDana · Feb 1
Even Snoop Dogg won't go near a flu vaccine! Keep aluminum out of his veins!
Yeah, aluminium. If you want to check it out, the crew over at Science Based Medicine did a piece (among others) dealing with the contents of vaccines and chat about aluminium in there. It's worth the read.

But...this video clip. Snoop Dogg says:
"You don' need that (flu) shot, nigga they shootin' some shit in yo' ass...I think they shootin' some...controllin'...some shit to take control of ya...you know, where they have your mind, body, and soul, you know, slow you down a bit."
Amazing. A guy who is known to smoke half a pound of weed a day, sitting behind some Colt .45, is worried about flu shot ingredients? Dana Ullman implies that the aluminium content of the flu shot is harmful and he endorses what Snoop Dogg says - apparently unaware of how little aluminium is actually in the flu shot or, perhaps more importantly, how much aluminium he is ingesting on a daily basis just by, you know, breathing. Most people ingest 7-10mg/day. I mean, there's 10-20 mg of it in just one buffered aspirin tablet and you get less than one mg in a flu shot.

Weird that Ullman and the other anti-vaccine loons aren't up in arms at aspirin and antacid manufacturers. They're not anti-headache/anti-heartburn medicine, they're "pro-safe-headache/heartburn medicine". I guess if I want reason and rationality, there are perhaps better places to check out.(image)